Thursday, October 20, 2005

Two Instances in Which I Am Mistaken For Someone Who Cares

First Instance:
I was at a pub the other night with two friends. (engaging in my kind of Happy Hour: French Fries and a Coke, I do know how to tear it up on a Friday night) The two friends get up to go get some more of their kind of Happy Hour: Alcohol, while I man the table. As I sit there, running my finger along the empty french fry plate and then licking my finger, minding my own Happy Hour business, up walks a man that I worked with a few years ago.

I didn’t immediately recognize him, as it’s been a few years and the time we worked together didn’t affect me in any significant way. But it didn’t take long for me to realize who he was. Mostly because he came up, stuck out his hand and said, “Dawn, I used to work with you, do you remember me? I’m Jim Dandy (name changed to protect someone I’m gonna be kinda mean to in a second).”

I looked at him and after a moment I remembered who he was. In that moment he started to look to the ground, to the sky, to the other people in the bar, to his hands – any place but at me. And then he stammered quite a bit and let out a sigh as well as quite a bit of flop sweat.

“Yes, I do remember you Jim. Been a long time. How are you doing?” Jim had worked in the same department as I for about three months about three years ago. He never really struck me as the confident type, and always made me quite nervous just because he was so nervous all the time. Apparently his nervousness wasn’t unfounded, because he was fired rather quickly from our department.

A termination that seems to have impacted him quite a bit, “Well, I, I just, you know, wanted to come over here, and well, see, the thing, I wanted, just for the sake of, you know, and closure. You know.”
“Yes, closure. I just wanted to tell you, say that I am, you know, I’m doing okay. Quite well, actually. Very very well.”
“That’s great. I’m glad to hear it.”
“Cause I was, you know, things, sometimes things don’t work out, and I just wanted you to know that I got a job, a great job, a really great job, and everything worked out. Even though I was let go, you know.”
“Well, that’s fantastic, things always work out as they’re supposed to.”
“I’ve gotten several promotions.”
“I don’t know why, you know, why it didn’t work out, the Boss just didn’t, we had different personalities, and it was just, whew, it was what it was and now I’m GREAT!”
“It seems like you’ve really moved on.”

Excuse me, but why is this man approaching me and my french fry plate to tell me that he has a job? This man and I, we didn’t share any long talks during his time in my department. We didn’t become fast friends. In fact the only real thing that I remember about this man is that he was sitting at my table during the company Christmas Party and he was so nervous about the whole “interacting with human-beings” thing that he didn’t drink any wine. That, therefore, left more wine with which I could drink myself into a stupor. Which led me to puking my brains out before the sun even set. And looking back on it, if he wasn’t so nervous he would have drank some of that wine and saved me from having to puke out my lower intestine while watching Oprah. What a jerk.

Second Instance:
You know those letters people send every Christmas updating you on their family and all the wonderful things all their lovely off-spring are doing? You know how annoying those things are? Now imagine if you had to endure them not only at Christmas, but EVERY month. Ah, the wonders of e-mail. It costs people no money at all to send a bulk e-mail to everyone they know describing every detail of their life.

Seriously. Who honestly thinks that anyone gives a flying fark what they are doing? You know how you know if I give a flying fark? I’ll call ya, maybe I’ll drop you a line saying something like, “How are you doing?” And even then, let’s be honest, I’m not really expecting a detailed answer. I’m expecting a “Fine, and you?” and then I’m prepared to give a, “Great.” and then we can immediately commence any sort of gossip we may have heard about other people. This is how people communicate. Please, let’s stop the abundance of personal information flowing through the internet. And if we aren’t going to stop it, let’s at least make an attempt to hide how many people you are sending this “very special” update to. Somehow the very special personal information doesn’t seem special or personal when it is sent to 50 people.

So then.

I received an e-mail from a friend yesterday. And update on her life. Because, at some point I think I made the mistake of asking, “How are you doing?” and that got me added onto the “Gives a Fark” list of people to get monthly updates.

So you think I’m blowing this out of proportion, that perhaps I’m just a cynic who has no appreciation for good old fashioned correspondence. Yeah. This girl wrote 15,500 words in her “little update”. I’m serious. There were headings. There were subheadings. There were footnote-y things in which she gave definitions of some of the things she was talking about.

15,500 words.

Someone invite Jim Dandy over for a dinner party. I’m gonna need some wine to get through the whole thing.

**And yes, I understand the irony of writing a long ass blog on the internet about people assuming that anyone gives a fark about what they have to say in their long ass letters that they send via the internet. I don’t think that the fact that I’m no better than the people I’m bitching about should negate my right to continue my bitching. This is America. If I can’t shoot bombs from my glass house then the terrorists have won.**


Patricia said...

you are my hero!
i eliminated the how are you doing? from my e-mails and switched to i hope you're doing well. it cuts down a little, but doesn't address the problem altogether.

anyway, dawn, i hope you're doing well. me, i'm fine, thanks.

Gives a Lark said...

GREAT BLOG! Hilarious. Here are a few suggestions as well...

By the way, How are you?

1) A blog is not an email or letter sent to someone. It is voluntary that we read it. So anyone who tries to play that card on you by saying "oh yeah, what are YOU doing with your blog is missing the whole point.

2) People who spout random information to you/us that we don't care or want to know about are truly annoying. This is a good time to consult the movie hopping manual, see step #4 - take out your cell phone as if you have a call.

3) Another great response that always works is "I'm sorry, I don't speak English".

4) I think it's time you wrote a holiday letter to people. Talk about your kids, vacations, ambitions and goals. Include pictures of random children and say they are your kids. Make fake "family" photos and throw everyone off. Get one of those Wal-Mart photos of babies and just sign your name to it without explanation, as most people do. Have fun with these people.

5) Avoid eye contact. Especially in public places where someone is complaining. They will zone in on you to try and get you to agree with them.

Anonymous said...

Dude...... I totally feel your pain with the 15,500 words on the life update! We hardly even know this girl!

And to send a follow up email.....I am over it!

dawn said...

Oh, god, I forgot about the FOLLOW UP e-mail. Wherein she felt the need to UPDATE us on her UPDATE.

What the?

Cathy said...

Oh My God;
Nutcase former co-worker; I think I am working with him now!!!! I know Jim Dandy!
And, I have a friend who has a newsletter. Actually I should call her an acquaintance; and I am too kind to tell her to stop sending me her god damn quarterly newsletter that I delete before I even open from my inbox...
p.s. I like "gives a lark's" suggestion about creating a fake letter; now that would be funny. I have threatened my husabnd that I am going to send a gloom and doom one out to my acquaintance full of lurid crap that is untrue (well mostly anyway).

dawn said...

Oh, and Lark - I'm so doing the fake family update this Christmas. That is the best idea ever.

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

Yeah. I don't give a turd either.

But seriously, make sure Jim Dandy doesn't start stalking you.

Rochelle said...

I had a friend like this once. (Notice the use of past tense.) I stopped deleting her emails; I added her to my junk senders list, so now I don't even have to be annoyed when they arrive.