April 2, 2010: I posted this on Facebook, and quickly realized that if I was going to be this hilarious and brutally clever, I needed what any self-respecting college graduate working 12-hour days needs: a blog.
English is an amazing language. With over half a million words, it’s the largest, and best-known language on the planet, and it’s still growing. But there isn’t a word for everything.
I was watching some reality TV the other day (the hair cutting one), which mostly consists of a bunch of hair stylists being super friendly one minute, then brutally snappy the next. A couple of them were having a pointless argument which I was mindlessly enjoying when I realized that one of them was using nothing but non sequiturs to win the argument. And it was working. It went something like this:
x-You don’t know how to do a pixie cut.
o-Where did you learn to cut hair?
o-I bet it was ghetto.
x-Your pixie cut looks like crap.
o-Your pants look like crap.
I’ve had conversations like this; they make me crazy, and I’m not ashamed to say that the last time this happened (philosophy class at USC), I snapped. I ended up completely abandoning our discussion to berate this guy on derailing the conversation just to gain the illusion of victory. I remember saying things like, “Stick to the topic, or stop talking,” and “I feel like we’re having two different conversations, and yours is dumb.”
Why isn’t there a word for this person? The English language has a word for just about everything, so why not someone who depends solely upon non sequiturs to win a discussion?
Instead of making up a whole new word, I propose that this word already exists; all we need to do is modify the definition to include those brainless shells of people who choose to free associate their way through conversations.
Though currently confined to use within the railway community, derailer is an English word for a device that intentionally takes a runaway railcar off its track. I can think of no better metaphor for people who obliterate coherent discussion with their inconsequential input on a regular basis than a device whose sole purpose is to screw up the forward progress of a strong, useful machine.
Derailer. Use it, people. Use it to shame your family, friends and coworkers into becoming more useful conversationalists, and save them from the vengeful gaze of the ghost of Productive Conversation (yes, it’s dead, you killed it).
Yesterday I worked at the dojo, came home, ate ramen, biked to and taught at the park, biked home, jumped in the shower and immediately had a hankering for a Reeses peanut butter cup. I’ve been craving those recently, so I bought some at the store. But there I was, trapped in the shower, picturing them trapped in my kitchen cabinet, both of us yearning for the other.
So naturally I whined until Boyfriend came in to see what all the fuss was about. I asked him to get me a Reeses, and he shot me one of those, “C’mon… seriously?” looks. I gave him my best adorably huge smile. He rolled his eyes and headed for the kitchen. I lathered up my hair, and a short while later, Boyfriend came back with a “Look what IIIIIII goooooot!” Was it a Reeses? No. It was a cat. My neighbor’s cat. And it was not happy about being in the bathroom. Her pupils were huge. She looked like she was going to shed all her hair at once at the stress of being kidnapped by a strange man and taken into a hot, steamy room, only to encounter a dripping wet lady who then laughed, then stupidly reached out to pet her. She squirmed until my boyfriend, who was having already trouble hanging on to her, took off running out of the bathroom to let her back onto the patio, and get me my damn peanut butter cup.
He came back and reluctantly fed it to me, all the while saying, “I gotta go, I’m IMing someone about work!” I giggled and took another bite while he tried to shove the rest of it into my mouth.
We ate at Johnny Rockets while our friends (who apparently have horrible taste in restaurants) ate at Kabuki before we met at the theater upstairs to see the seventh Harry Potter movie (part I). Super depressing, but good. I need a wand.
My first encounter with the concept of all-day meetings was when I was a kid, and my dad couldn’t pick us up from school because he would “be in meetings all day.” Little did I know he meant this literally.
I recently got a new part-time job at a great place with nice people and great benefits. The pay is good, the office is nice, I have my own desk and all the plants a girl could want to decorate it with. Overall, things are great there. Last month, my boss mentioned a few meetings she needed me to go to, one right after the other, which would last anywhere from around 1pm to around 9pm. A small part of me died. All-day meetings were very real, and I was about to experience them. Fuck.
What I’ve learned from all-day meetings:
–Bring something to entertain your self with– It has to be something you can abandon immediately and often, something that will allow you to listen to what’s being said while you do it, basically something you can enjoy without looking like you’re not paying attention. Bringing a book is an instant fail (its mere presence implies anticipated boredom). Bringing a folded-up newspaper with the crossword on the outside is an instant fail. Cut that shit out of the newspaper and hide it with the rest of your crap.
–If you forget your entertainment, remember: Your brain is amazing– I’ve never been caught in a situation where I was so bored out of my mind that I prayed for sweet death to end my suffering, mostly because I’ve always found some way to entertain myself. This usually involves writing haikus about the people in the room, or about how boredom might be a silent killer. I have the ability to have fun wherever I am, usually in total silence. It’s the kind of ability sociopaths and schizophrenics have, and it’s invaluable at all-day meetings.
–Choose your seat carefully– Don’t sit in front of, or next to your boss. The ideal location for a boss to sit during one of these meetings is in front of you. That way they feel close enough to supervise you so they leave you alone, when really what’s happened is you’ve lulled them into a seat of false supervision that allows you to keep an eye on them so you know when to look alert. If they sit behind you, they’ll be watching every number you put down on that Sudoku puzzle you snuck in.
You also have to be careful which coworker you sit next to. Don’t sit next to Chatty Kathy; she’ll draw attention to you and make you seem like a slacker by association, even if you’re not engaging with her. Try to sit next to someone quiet but trustworthy; you don’t want to have to mow them down in the parking lot for ratting you out to the boss for drawing a unibrow on the founder’s face on that stupid brochure. You weren’t even paying attention when you did it, your hand acted on it’s own!
–Take notes– Your boss will ask you what you thought of Ms. Ladypants’ idea about Scooty-blah. It doesn’t matter what you think, but you have to demonstrate that you were paying attention. Every time a slide changes, or a new speaker stands up, pay attention for a minute and write down some tidbit of information. Better yet, raise your hand and say something pertinent. It’ll help you stay awake, remember the topic, and frankly it’ll make the whole meeting more interesting.
Having said that, here are my notes from the last bout of meetings:
-“The next person to touch my back is going to pull back a bloody stump.” (the direct result of being two decades younger than everyone else in the room is that everyone feels like my mom or dad, or hits on me. The result of all of this is someone laying a hand on my shoulder or back when they pass by me or stop to talk. It’s gross. I pull away.)
-“I always feel weird saying “Gesuntheit’ to Jewish people.” (my Jewish coworker sneezed during the meeting. I felt awkward, and showed her this note. She laughed)
I don’t find all-day meetings to be all that much of a chore, to be honest. All you do is sit there and listen to people chat about… stuff. I can think of worse things to be roped into [see picture].
Here’s the problem with anime: filler. Filler episodes are what a good 80% of most anime TV series consist of. This is nowhere better demonstrated than in Dragonball Z, when whole episodes would be dedicated to someone try to fly to a location on the other side of a very small planet where a battle was going on. This “battle” consisted of only two people, who also spent a good two or three episodes “charging up,” or gathering energy for the (supposedly) ensuing battle.
The direct result of said filler episodes is that out of all the random Dragonball Z episodes I’ve managed to catch on Cartoon Network from my childhood up to now, I’ve never actually seen a battle. Such is the power of the filler.
Naruto Shippuden is also full of this crap. So when the last story arc ended, I was crushed. I would imagine I have some idea of what it must be like to watch my child excel in college, happily date, get straight A’s, and participate in multiple clubs and sports, only to return home after graduation, a single, ambitionless, unemployed, lumpy leftover person. That’s what I’m watching now. Leftovers of a superior series. Buh. Get it over with already. I wanna see Naruto and Hinata interact ONCE after everything went down (go Hinata! I QQd like a baby).
BUT NO, instead I’m stuck watching a talking ostrich reminisce to his kids about this one time Naruto was a jerk. No, wait, it’s not just any ostrich, that would be dumb. We’re dealing with a ninja ostrich. That’ll make it worth watching, right? [/scratches eyes out]
I like slow-dancing, but I hate dancing to love songs. It seems trite, and I don’t like being told what to feel about the person in my arms. But I love to dance to good, slow songs like Norah Jones’ The Long Day is Over. It’s one of my all-time favorite songs.
Slow-dancing to a song like this is the physical equivalent to making promises of love; to commit, to watch and listen carefully, to touch tenderly and thoroughly, to choose that dance partner over all others in some way. Bearing in mind that I haven’t slow-danced since high school (Winter Formal 2001!), I find it so easy to make these kind of promises because at my core, I’m just a big softie. I’m a romantic. And it kills me that no one knows this.