Journal

When did it become OK to yell and scream at people?

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Seriously. I am asking a sincere question because I must have missed the memo that everyone else got that said:

“You have every right to yell, scream and insult anyone at anytime for any reason.”

I know it’s been a few years since I’ve been in the unbuffered zone of dealing with the pubic. Up until last year, they had to first go through some hoops before landing on my lines. By then they were ready to go and I almost never had a problem with anyone. In fact, it’s rare that anyone really annoys me in business.

Well, that was true up until this last year. That’s when I started two new jobs, without a buffer.

Holy Mother of God! WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?

I mean it. Just answering the phone “Good morning. ABC company. How can I…”

“TAKE ME OFF YOUR LIST!”

“Excuse me? What?”

“ARE YOU DEAF? I SAID STOP CALLING ME!”

“But you called us. Just give me your phone number and I’ll…”

Click.

OK, so how am I supposed to delete a number if they don’t tell me?

Or how about the guy that won’t let me finish explaining his bill before he goes off on a tangent?

“OK, sir, I didn’t send you the bill. If you’ll just calmly tell me what happened…”

“DON’T YOU TELL ME TO CALM DOWN!”

“OK.”

My favorite was the guy that walked into the office and demanded I help him. OK…no problem….but when I explained to him that he wasn’t our client, he blew a gasket.

“YOU SHOULD HELP ME ANYWAY!”

I waited for him to stop talking and went over it, again, who he needed to call to report a claim. He didn’t understand so I (stupidly) found the number, got them on the line, explained it to them and handed him the phone.

Good Samaritan, right? I figured he was just confused and I’d help him on his way.

Well, two days later, he’s calling the office. I’m not there because my car is in the shop, so the calls are being forwarded to my cell.

I’m all about customer service until you’re a dick. Then all bets are off.

Not only was he pissed that I wasn’t there, he put his daughter on the phone. She proceeded to threaten me and said she was going to report me. (Keep in mind, these aren’t our clients). I told her that was a great idea and to have a nice day.

My hands were shaking when I hung-up and it took me hours to calm down. I do not like being threatened, especially when I’ve done nothing wrong AND tried to help someone.

Then, HE COMES INTO THE OFFICE A WEEK LATER! He acts like nothing is wrong. Eff’n passive-aggressive asshole had met his match.

“Yes?” I ask as sweetly as possible.

“I need help with my claim and…”

“No. Sorry. Call them directly. From your home. With your daughter.”

“But you need…”

“Again, no. Let me go over this, one more time. It’s like you’re a client of Avis Car Rentals and you’ve just walked into Enterprise Rent-a-Car, all pissed off at Avis. Talk to Avis and deal with them.”

He looks at me. “Oh, you’re not my agent.”

“Nope,” I say and get up and walk him to the door. “Don’t come back,” I say and close the door behind him.

Now I know that you’ll always run into a few people who are cranky and rude. That’s life, right?

But when did “a few people” turn into most of them?

When did this change and when did it become acceptable to treat people badly?

I have  a sneaking suspicion I am not cut out for this anymore. The one today was just someone who had a confusion on his bill. Every time I tried to explain it, his voice would rise. He didn’t like the idea that because he bounced a check to the insurance company, they were cancelling his coverage.

I just got quiet and stopped talking and let him yell.

When he was done, I didn’t say anything until he asked if I was still there.

“Yes,” I said.

“Well?”

“As I was saying…”

“YOU’RE NOT ANSWERING MY QUESTION! WHY AREN’T YOU ANSWERING MY QUESTION?”

“Because you’re yelling…”

“I’M NOT YELLING!’

“Call this 800 number and talk to them. I’m done here.”

Of course he called back 5 minutes later.

God I love called ID. I just let it ring and ring. He, naturally, didn’t leave a message.

If at any point, anyone tells me that it’s my job to be yelled at, that’s the moment I quit.

No amount of money is worth rolling over for it.

That ain’t gonna happen.

I have the right to speak and not listen to your bull shit.

mo

The price I paid for not being PC (Politically Correct).

Now PC is a completely arbitrary term. It’s definition is solely dependent on opinion.

I don’t pay much attention to opinions, other than my own. They are what they are and have as much weight and value that you choose to give them. There are very few opinions of others that I care much about. A few, but not many. Maybe 3 if I cared to add them up.

I had the very unfortunate experience of posting something on Facebook that was not only not appreciated by some of my  real life friends, but also gave them license (or so they thought) to then come onto my post and correct me. When that didn’t work, the condescension started. You know, when people explain slowly and patiently to you that you don’t understand and your thinking is wrong? It’s like porn – you know it when you see/hear it. It has its own icky wavelength.

It was a simple post and I made that egregious (apparently) error of posting something from….dare I say it……..the Democrats! Oh horror! Oh the horrible and misguided error of my ways!

And not only was it from a Democrat but….(gulp)…it was from The First Lady! Well….shame on me…..

Now even though I stated very clearly that I was posting this because of her speech against the recent vulgar and lewd comments  about women, and not a political statement, that was not enough. Oh no it was not. In fact, the point and purpose of the post was not relevant. It didn’t matter why I had posted it. I had crossed some sort of line with some friends and it was their duty to troll me and make sure I towed the party line.

Independent thought I guess is a bad thing. Being bipartisan is bad. I am bad. I am wrong and I need to understand this.

The fact that I posted it because it was a beautiful, strong and eloquent speech ABOUT DISRESPECTING WOMEN AND NOT POLITICAL wasn’t enough to absolve me of the error of my ways. Things have gotten so bad that speaking up for 51% of the population is something that needs to be silenced and stopped.

But they made a couple of fatal errors themselves:

1) They pissed of a writer.
2) They tried to tell a writer what she should and shouldn’t post.
3) They don’t read my writing and have no clue about the work I’ve done for women’s issues.
4) They pissed ME off.
5) They thought I would go quietly into the night.

Are they out of their fucking minds?

I guess so.

So I did what I usually do – blocked a raging lunatic, stood my ground and kept repeating my point and waited.

I deleted the comments (all of them, including mine) because it had gotten so ugly that I didn’t want my name associated with any of it. I kept the post up, gave a warning and waited.

The sheep ran away, just as I thought.

So just in case it’s not clear to anyone, let me state this as clearly as I can:

MY SANITY, WELL BEING, WRITING, ART, AND LIFE WILL ALWAYS BE SENIOR TO ANY ONE PERSON OR GROUP.

There. I said it. No one will ever have greater importance to me than myself.

No one tells me what to think or how to think.

No one has the authority or power over my self-determinism, thoughts, ideas, creativity, pursuit of happiness, or my mind. No one.

I say what I mean and I mean what I say. I will clarify. I will discuss. I will listen.

But I will not be bullied, harassed, spoken badly to, disrespected, or talked down to.

If that means I toss everyone out of my life to have peace of mind, fine by me. I won’t think twice about it.

Until we can understand each other, appreciate each other and trust each other, there will never be peace on earth.

Now to piss of even more people, here is the speech that caused so many people such anguish and horror. (Yes, I’m happy to do it again).

And before you listen to it, let me remind you that what she is saying is what we women have to deal with every single day of our lives. She is speaking for women and if anyone has a problem with that, then they have a problem with me and should just move along and stay away from me.

Michelle Obama’s powerful speech

 

Annnnnnnd….another reason to have a pit bull.

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This is Blue. As some of you know, he’s my big goofy dog who I rescued a few years back. I’ve written quite a bit about him and pit bulls elsewhere, but for those that don’t know that,  I’ve made it very clear that I am much more dangerous than him. Yes, I know all the hype and bull shit written about them, but there are many reasons to own one of the sweetest and goofiest dogs in the world.

This story is about another reason that happened today on our walk. It goes like this:

I am accustomed to people suddenly changing their direction when they see us coming. From stepping off the sidewalk to bolting across the street and almost getting hit by cars.

This amuses me. I’ve even had a family stop walking and yank their toddler back when they saw us 20 feet away. I heard her say to the child “That’s a very dangerous dog! Stay away from them!” as the child squealed when she saw us and wanted to pet him. Blue jerked his head up, his tail began wagging because he LOVES children! When he sees them, his nature is to go over to them and hug them.

When I walk Blue, I am aware of everything and everyone around us. There are also tons of people who love pit bulls and go out of their way to tell me and ask to pet and hug him.

Blue was not socialized as a pup and because of that, he doesn’t always know how to behave. This makes him rude to other dogs because he wants to give them a big hug and that can come across as being aggressive. In fact it’s more like your drunken favorite uncle who is so thrilled to see you at Christmas, that before you know it, he’s got you in a bear hug and smothering you with kisses with his claims of undying love and missing you so much.

Rude but well-intended.

Blue is high-strung and fearful at times. He has no “off” switch, so my job is to keep him calm and confident and make sure he doesn’t “go there” and get too excited. I constantly watch his level of excitement and pull him out of, or away from, any situation or person that gets him too excited..

I keep him calm  by my words, my body posture and my tone of voice. I NEVER do anything to get him riled up. No tug-of-war games. No squeaky toys. No high-pitched tone of voice.

Well, no high-pitched tone of voice until today.

Today that changed when the asshole walking towards us decided I needed to move out-of-the-way and not him. Who fully expected me to step into the bushes so he could also have MY side of the sidewalk to pass by. The prick that felt it was his right to physically push me out-of-the-way if I didn’t move.

The problem was, I had no place to move to. I kept to my side of the sidewalk, with plenty of room for he and his buddy to pass by. I had reigned Blue in to be as close to my right side (away from everyone else) and he and his buddy had plenty of room to walk by.

But, no, not this guy. No way he was going to do that. He looked right at me as he was walking and didn’t veer to his right. He fully expected me to back my ass into the bushes to let him pass by.

I don’t think so.

I stopped and stared at him. Blue is learning to sit the moment I stop and he did. This guy was so intent on pushing me out-of-the-way, he didn’t see Blue. He stared back at me and it was like a game of chicken, only he was moving and I was the brick wall he was about to slam into.

He walked right up to me and was just about to push me with his shoulder, so I moved a foot to the left. This made him stop. He looked incredulously at me.

He stopped and glared as his friend kept walking.

It was the Bay of Pigs in Sunnyvale.

He wasn’t going to move and I had nowhere to move to.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

I looked down at Blue and said in the highest, most squeaky voice I could muster “YOU ARE THE BEST BOY EVER! YOU ARE SUCH A GOOD BOY!”

Suddenly Blue is jumping and barking and now wants to jump on the guy and say hello.

The guy freaks out, jumps back and…..trips! Landed flat on his ass! I could not have hoped for anything better.

I chuckle, pull Blue close to me and step over the guy as I say “Don’t you ever get in my way again,” and walked away.

Best. Moment. Ever.

 

I hate doing “Morning Pages.” Guess I should do some more.

For those that don’t know what “Morning Pages” are, here’s a link: http://juliacameronlive.com/basic-tools/morning-pages/ It’s from the book “The Artist’s Way” written my Julia Cameron and it’s a great book and program. I know it’s helped me as a writer over the years.

But I dread doing them because I. Am. Not. A. Morning. Person. The part where she says to get up a half-hour earlier in the morning to do them….well, I laughed my ass off on that. That will never happen. I can barely form a sentence for the first half-hour of rising, even with the first cup of coffee down my throat.

I got it done and I’ll do it again because I’ve found that the shit you hate doing is exactly what you should be doing.

As Buddha is attributed for saying (It’s on the internet, so it must be true) to a novice who wasn’t able to meditate for 15 minutes: “If you can’t meditate for 15 minutes, the way to overcome that is to meditate for an hour.”

Shit. He’s right.

Being mistaken for a bag lady.

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It all started out so innocently.

I came down with a bad cold. A really bad cold, but couldn’t afford to miss work, so I loaded up on the cold meds. The daytime meds so I wouldn’t be groggy but be able to suppress my cough enough that I wasn’t coughing on the patients in the clinic and not have to have Kleenex jammed up my nose because it was running so bad.

I made it through the day and when I drove up my street, I saw everyone had their garbage cans out for pick-up the next morning.

That made me want to cry. That meant I had to put the cans out, deal with the God damned recycling (otherwise I am harming all of mankind if I don’t recycle) and clean up the yard that night. I still had work to do for my other job and I was starting to sound like a frog with laryngitis.

I blew it off. I was too sick and too tired to deal with it, so I figured I would do it first thing in the morning. I would have time, right?

By the time I crawled into bed, it was late. The heat was triggering my hot flashes, so I put the fan on high, took off all my clothes and  loaded up on nighttime cold meds. My roommate wasn’t going to be home that night, so I was safe. Safe from him having to come into my bedroom to use the bathroom and not screaming at what was lying on the bed. A clogged-up, naked, snoring woman who was drenched in sweat, with her hair matted to her forehead and who no longer gave a fuck about life for the night. He owes me.

The next morning, the garbage trucks wake me up. I push myself up. I feel swollen, like a plumb trapped in a grape. I stagger to the bathroom, trying to remember what it is I’m supposed to be doing and then I remember.

THE TRUCKS ARE COMING! THE TRUCKS ARE COMING AND I’M NOT READY!

For some reason, this is crucial. Blame the meds or blame my warped sense of priorities, but this shit was vital!

I grab a t-shirt and find a pair of shorts in the hamper. I get the garbage from under the sink. I grab the recycling bag and it spills. I’m now drenched in spaghetti sauce BECAUSE INSTEAD OF PUTTING THE BOTTLE BACK IN THE FRIG, I PUT IT IN THE RECYCLING BAG!

I have no idea why I did that.

I open the front door and Blue, my dog, goes charging out and bumps me. I drop the bags and they spill on me. So not only do I have spaghetti sauce down the front of me, I now have coffee grounds running down my leg.

But I’ve got to get to the cans and move them out to the street.

I put on a pair of flip flops that I keep by the door for this reason. I’m prefer to be barefoot, but if I need to go outside, there they are. Brilliant.

I put the garbage in the can and hurry out to the curb. One of the flip flops breaks, so I leave it behind me. I’m on a mission and sometimes there is collateral  damage.

I made the first target. One canister done and another one to go. Woo hoo! I put the bag down for the recycling. I’ve got to go back and grab that canister.

I can do this!

I hear the trucks approaching. I run to the next canister. I pray no one sees me.

I get to the canister and haul it to the street. I run over my broken flip flop. It looked so sad but I don’t care. The truck is next door, quickly approaching.

I push it to the curb. I open the one side and dump everything in and then I see it.

I MIXED THE PAPER AND PLASTIC! SHIT!

I start having a coughing fit. I dig into one side of it. Half my body is immersed in it and it tips over. I fall with it just as the truck pulls up.

He stops and looks at me. There I am, rolling around in the garbage with food all over me, one flip flop on, hair all over the place and what looks like dirt up and down my legs.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get worse, he says “Hey, you OK? You know there’s a shelter down the street where you can get some food. No reason for you to eat garbage…”

Lord have mercy, why did I have to run into a kind soul right at that moment?

I nod, thank him and get up. I start to explain, but there’s no point. I quickly put the plastic where it should go and the paper in its bin. I say nothing and he just sits in his truck, staring at me. I brush myself off and walk back to the house. I pick up the flip flop and carry it back inside with me.

Blue acts as if I’ve been gone for a week and starts licking the coffee grounds off my leg. I can’t decide whether to laugh or cry, so I take a long hot shower instead.

I blame the cold meds.

 

 

Finding a balance? Ha ha! That’s really funny.

I can’t really explain well on how I ended up in this exact spot. I mean, I was there with each decision I made and each step I took. But sometimes I wake-up and wonder “How did this happen?” Obviously I have that thought on the bad mornings or bad days. I never have it when I’m happy.  Only when I’ve got a headache from slamming my head and soul against brick walls.

Brick walls of people avoiding me.

Brick walls of people blowing me off.

Brick walls of “I don’t want to do this today…but I have to….” type of thing.

Brick walls of “What should I do today?” That’s only when I’ve either got too much to do or nothing to do. There doesn’t seem to be any type of middle road with me. Never has been and I am envious of people that can find that balance. Maybe the idea of a balance is a joke, a horrible joke, that no one can attain but only say they have. Like a form of bragging. Rather than have you be envious of them because of their car or house, it’s more a type of envy of how cool they are and you’re not.

There are brief moments when all is well with me and the minute I feel it, it dissipates like a rainbow. You know, as soon as you see a rainbow, it remains there until you move towards it. Then it’s gone or moves away. It’s always “Over there” and never right here.

I slug it out everyday and push towards what I want and everyday, it comes back “Nope. Try again.”

So today, I say “Nope. YOU try again to push me down,” and up I get, flip off the the resistance and slap on the lipstick and walk out the door. Doesn’t mean I know where I’m going or exactly what I’ll be doing, but I’ll be damned if I’ll accept defeat. Worst case scenario, everyone yells at me and throws me out of their place of business.

But at least I showed up.

At least I said something and made myself known.

Now THAT sounds like fun!

 

Gender what?

~~dsfdsrget

I was born in 1955, smack in the middle of the ultimate conservative decade. Men went to work, women stayed home and tended the nest. Absolutely nothing wrong with that and I was fortunate that I was raised by two of the best parents in the world.

I was the 3rd child and the 1st girl and NO ONE ever did tantrums and drama better than me. My two older brothers doted on me, my father (who was a Marine) was afraid I’d break if he raised his voice to me (plus Mom ran the household and did most of the discipline) and I was so frickin’ cute, it was scary. Massive curls all over the place, dimples that you could see a mile away, and never a thought that anything I wanted wasn’t possible.

My Mom was so thrilled to have a girl. She hand sewed my dresses – all ruffles and ribbons and as girlie as you could get. Hair in natural ringlets that couldn’t be brushed so my hair was always short. I still struggle with it because when it comes to curly hair, the struggle is real.

I had my Barbie’s, my dolls, my girl toys – child ironing board (there is a picture of me ironing on it), child kitchen set and oven, etc. All those things made for girls and always in pink.

I liked them. I loved my Barbie. I loved dressing her up with my friends. I liked helping my Mom with the dishes and I especially loved that my brothers had to also learn how to set the table, how to behave at the dinner table, how to clear the dinner table and how to do the dishes. We had a schedule and for all our chores every day and every weekend. The boys helped Dad in the yard while I helped Mom clean the house. We all learned how to do the laundry and God help you if you misbehaved in the grocery store.

Imagine my Mom’s horror, after dressing me in my frilly dress with beautiful bows in my hair, I would go out to the backyard and jump right into the dirt pile with the boys and play with their Tonka trucks. It was heaven and they let me because, in hind sight, I think boys are always a bit afraid of girls. At least they were with me. I was a beautiful little doll that no one wanted to break, so I used that to my full advantage.

My parents never told me “how” I was supposed to be. There were rules within the household and we knew them. It gave us security and stability because you always knew what was going to happen next. If it was 5:30 in the afternoon, that was time to start helping Mom with dinner. We knew when we ate, when we had to go to bed, what shows we were going to watch that night, when to get up, etc.

We knew nothing about how some people were “different.” Those sorts of things weren’t known/discussed back in the day. I do remember seeing an odd couple in San Francisco when I was about 13. It looked like 2 women but I wasn’t sure. I did a double take and asked my Mom what did I just see. She didn’t really answer my question but just told me not to stare and let it be.

Looking back and then looking at today, I guess the world is always changing and in the scheme of things for me, what you’re wearing doesn’t concern me. In my way, I’ve always “raged against the machine” but didn’t know it. I’ve always just done the things I wanted.

I am now into make-up and false eyelashes because my little stubby eyelashes are disappearing as I get older. I’m getting ready to enter a training program for one of the biggest corporations in California and I don’t know that game. I will have to learn it. I will have to figure out this new playing field as I start to slug it out with some very heavy hitters. In other words, I’ll be playing with the “big boys” and hope to only be judged on my work and not my looks.

I’m scared, excited, confident, lack confidence, all at the same time. I will have to update my wardrobe.

But I will play the game on my own terms. I’m almost 61, my hair is burgundy and down to my waist. I wear bright red lipstick every day because it looks fucking fabulous on me. I sometimes leave the house without make-up and sometimes I don’t. I still look amazing in a short skirt, but really do prefer jeans and a t-shirt with my hair pulled back and tons of coffee.

Don’t tell me how to live my life and I won’t do the same to you. As long as you’re decent and kind towards me, I’ll be the same with you. I won’t bother you unless you draw first blood. Then I’ll clock your ass.

I don’t care much about what you think or how you dress. Just don’t be an ass and we’ll get along just fine.

Happy New Year, you crazy bastards.

Yep. Here we are again. Fortunately. Made it through another year, which I’m somewhat surprised by a few of you that made it. Seriously. I thought some of you would be dead by now. I am pleasantly surprised you’re still around. I’m glad I’m still here too.

This is my favorite time of year. I love the idea that 7 billion people all agree on one thing – that one slot of time is over and another begins.

I just like that idea that for a brief moment, there is mutual agreement throughout the universe.

Go ahead and make all your resolutions, if that’s your thing, but if they don’t work for you, my guess is that you should have done them all along.

Every morning (well, OK, maybe 85% of the mornings), I spend about half an hour, writing whatever is in my head that I need to get rid of. Whatever negative that comes out (“I fucking hate my life,” for example) is then turned into a positive for the day. I write how fabulous my life is and turn my mindset to that. I write what I’m going to get done that day or how the day will be. Just depends on my mood and what has snagged my attention.

I have demons, but I don’t let them win. Ever. They pop-up mostly in the twilight moment of waking-up but still not awake. I think they run around when I’m not looking and don’t realize that I’m somewhat awake. That is when they are at their most vulnerable and obvious. As the sleep wears off and I become aware of the dog and cats on me that are hogging the covers, that’s when I hear them.

I don’t know if you should slay your demons as much as control them. They are useful if you know what you’re looking for. Use them to do the opposite of what they say.

“I’m fat” becomes “I look great.”

“I’ll always be alone” becomes “I love my independence.”

“I don’t want to get out of bed” becomes “I can hardly wait to get up and have a great day.”

It doesn’t matter if any of it’s true or not. What you say to yourself is what IS true.

So talk back to them. They shut-up pretty quickly because they are bullies and therefore cowards. That’s why they only come out when you are at your lowest point.

Don’t slay them. Put them to work.

They hate that.

 

I reject all labels. So there!

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Just…stop it with the labeling.

Stop taking those dumb ass tests online that decide what percentage of an introvert/extrovert you are. I mean….Facebook? Google Plus? Really?

Stop trying to figure out where you are on some scale, that somebody who knows nothing, made up. Somebody that had never successfully helped another person in their life, who then determined it was all because people couldn’t be helped. So they made a scale, said everyone falls on it to some extent, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

What a fucking idiot and the bigger idiots?

Those that go along with it, so knock it off.

It’s that old joke:

Who first said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

An old dog.

Labels are for those that don’t appreciate and admire the beautiful chaos we call life, who resist the ebb and flow of it, who abhor the predictable unpredictability of it all, and the general madness that makes it all so interesting and exquisite.

Reject anyone who tries to put you in a box and burn that box down, quickly and with great force. Offer no apologies to anyone who gets singed for they shouldn’t have created a box in the first place.

 

 

Dammit! I care more (about the right things) than you do.

“Perhaps, just perhaps, courage, empathy, compassion and the rest of our virtues are not a competition at all.”

Yes, very much this.

word of a woman

Cecil_the_lion_in__3388298b1It seems lately I am not allowed to care about anything without someone saying I care about the wrong thing or that I must also make it clear that I care about something else more.

I am not allowed to care about the death of Cecil the lion unless I have already made it clear that I care more about aborted babies or police brutality or the death penalty.

Some don’t want me to say that #blacklivesmatter unless I also say #alllivesmatter.

We are not supposed to celebrate Caitlyn Jenner’s courage because soldiers (or someone else) are more courageous.

Etc., etc., ad nauseam.

How is it that all of a sudden compassion, caring and courage have all become competitive sports? Something to be won at the expense of others? Has it come to this? Are all our best qualities now just another thing to use against one another? Is empathy…

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