Friday, July 30, 2010

Bad Samaritan

Yesterday I almost crossed the street to avoid a small child who was selling lemonade. I didn’t actually cross the street, but I did quickly say no when he started to ask me if I would like to purchase a beverage. And then as I continued walking I started to wonder what my problem was. I probably should have given this young entrepreneur 50 cents and a boost of confidence, even though I wasn’t thirsty. Now he’s probably going to end up living in his mother’s basement for the rest of his life.

But I’d argue it’s not my fault. I blame the guy who sells StreetWise outside my neighborhood CVS, the three to four veterans asking for donations at the train station, the Greenpeace people asking me if I want to save the environment outside my office, the panhandlers asking for spare change on every corner… Everywhere I go strangers are asking me for money. I know this makes me a terrible person, but I’ve resolved to ignore them all. I know I could pick one to help out, but I’m overwhelmed by the sheer volume of requests. And I don’t like talking to strangers.

So I walk briskly and keep my head down. And if I accidentally make eye contact I immediately start shaking my head if it looks like the person is going to speak. Even if that person is a lost tourist, or a small child… So this is my defense for when I end up on one of those hidden camera shows about bad Samaritans – or in hell.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Keep your laws off my eyeballs

It has come to my attention that the suburb of my birth is trying to outlaw the eye-roll, and although I wasn't the eye-rolling resident who was "ejected" from a city council meeting, I still consider this a personal insult.

I was delivered by a doctor in that very town 27 and a half years ago -- he announced "It's a girl!" and I rolled my eyes and thought to myself, "Yeah that's something to celebrate. Seventy-five cents on the dollar. Cigars all around!" With that kind of a beginning it's no wonder I grew up to become "the eye-rolling queen" (according to my friend who sent me the article).

If I possessed any motivation and a vehicle I'd maybe consider starting a petition and marching it out to Elmhurst to fight for the right to eye-roll. I'm just glad U.S. Cellular hasn't succeeded in outlawing the shrug.

Monday, July 19, 2010

What came first: the reality show or the psychosis?

I have an embarrassing obsession with the Real Housewives shows. I have watched every episode of every season of every city. I. Love. This. Show. But I’m afraid something is starting to spoil it for me: bizarre paranoia (and two extremely annoying and crazy women named Danielle and Kelly).

Both crazy ladies have convinced themselves that their castmates are trying to kill them. Not that castmates hate them or have it out for them: They actually claim their lives are in danger. Danielle travels with bodyguards and ex-cons for “protection,” and Kelly talks gibberish about death threats, vampires and satchels of gold.

Obviously reality shows cast a certain type — a special type of crazy that will shock, awe and entertain the masses. But there’s a difference between fun-crazy or even irritating-crazy and should-be-institutionalized crazy. That kind of crazy — the straight-jacket kind — probably shouldn’t be exploited on television.

But when did it start? Were Kelly and Danielle always insane? Or did the stress of being on a reality television show crack the nuts?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Down with conference calls

Not sure if I've mentioned before, but I hate conference calls. Ninety-five percent of the time they are a complete waste of time, and even when useful information is shared, I'd still prefer an e-mail exchange because then you have a record of it. I specify useful information because I don't really care what the weather is like in New York today or what someone I've never met in person is doing this weekend.

The worst thing about conference calls is the beginning. I don't know if it's just my company, but every call I'm on starts with roll. I have to admit even when there are four people on a call I detest saying, "Hi it's Amy" after a moment of pause in hopes that noone will talk over me. But on calls with more than 10 people I think roll should be outlawed. It takes forever and is absolute insanity. An experience I had last week:

Me: Hi this is Amy

Call leader: Great, hi Dave.

Me: Amy from Internet Marketing is here.

Leader: Hi Jennifer, and did someone else join?

Me: Amy? From Internet Marketing?

Leader: Hello Angela, how are you?

Amy: Click.

Well, I didn't really hang up, but I wanted to... "Leaders" who habitually squawk, "Hi who else joined?" should be barred from organizing calls - or fired. Ten minutes into the call we haven't gotten anywhere and I want to crawl under my cubicle and cry.

I'd really rather not talk on the phone ever because I sound like a 12-year-old, both in terms of voice and ability to put coherent thoughts together. I'd much rather take the time to write an e-mail and then proofread several times to decrease the chance of sounding like an idiot. Now why can't the business world adapt to my special needs? Is that too much to ask??
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