Friday, April 23, 2010

Motor Mouth

My dad often recounts the story of when my sister and I were young, walking home from elementary school, and our neighbor observed us. The neighbor said, "I always see Tracy just talking Robyn's ear off about this and that, going a million miles a minute. And then there's Robyn, just nodding silently going 'Uh huh....uh huh.'"

This is how I came to be known as Motor Mouth by my family.

I've always been a yapper. Words are my life, whether it be through writing or talking. I can't help it! My mind is so full of things that I feel like I'll burst if I don't get it all out.

As I've grown up, my closest friends have also noticed my gregarious nature. When I studied abroad, my London friends pin-pointed it right away and started calling me "Chatty Cathy."

Often times, I'll be giving so many details about a certain story, people will cut me off and say, "OK, and then what happened?"

I know I have a lot to say, and those of you who read this blog can attest to that. But this is who I am - I'm a storyteller. I can't just give the bare minimum of details and expect that to be sufficient. When I talk and write, I want people to get the full picture - to be able to put themselves in the situation and feel like they're right there experiencing it with me.

This quirk of mine doesn't really come in handy when it comes to work and phone conversations. In PR, we work with journalists who need quick, fast and easy information to get a story told. It took me awhile, but I feel like I've honed my skills at just sticking to the who, what, when, where and why when it comes to work.

But then there are times, like yesterday, where I completely digress. We interviewed a potential intern, and when she came to my office, I told her to feel free to ask me questions. She did ask me questions - 2, actually. And I answered like she'd just interviewed me. What was I thinking? I rambled on and on, and devoid of telling her about my first training bra and what I ate for breakfast, I basically told her my life story.

My co-worker made a comment when I passed the intern onto him. "Well, what left is there to ask her? Sounds like you talked about it all!" he said teasingly.

And then there are the people who avoid calling me because they know our conversations may last awhile. One of friends has actually admitted that she only calls me when she has at least two hours of free time on her plate, in preparation for our long, drawn-out chats where we pour over every detail. I'm not the only one talking in that situation, but still - am I really that difficult to talk to sometimes?

There is a person out there, a friend of mine who I clearly like as more than a friend, but we keep it pretty platonic. He used to call rather frequently - I remember times where we'd talk for hours or he would at least call pretty much daily. Now, I'm lucky if I get a "How do ya do" text every other day. He's clearly told me he can't call me every day, saying that he "hates" the phone. OK, OK. I get it. I know talking on the phone is a pain - hell, as much of a yapper as I am, I don't really talk on mine too often (minus the chats I have with my parents and sister - but that's family!). But even talking to me for 15 minutes is out of the question?

"Well," he tells me. "When I do talk to you for a little bit and then try to get off the phone, you get all sad. And then I feel bad."

Oh, I'm sorry. I thought me wanting to talk to you was a good thing. It means I care and that I want to be involved in your life (I don't always just talk about myself - I ask questions and am a good listener).
This person lives out of town, so it's not like I can just see him all the time. The phone is all we have (well, there's always the computer, but no one writes long e-mails anymore, except me, that is. I don't really feel like pouring my heart out to Yahoo! only to get a group of monosyllabic grunts in return. And as for social media - please! Only 140 characters are allowed on Twitter!).

Well, I guess the reality is what my roomie Erica said last night. She quoted a chapter from my favorite book - "Tracy, if he's not calling, he's just not that into you."

All of the other people in my life who care about me call me despite me being a chatterbox. It's who I am! I guess it just hurts sometimes when people act like they like who you are, only to eventually taper off and become apathetic to your very existence.
I'm not quite sure what to do about this guy. Leaving him alone doesn't do much good - it's not like withholding talking to me appears to be any sort of a punishment.

I guess I just need to get over it and move on. And when the right person comes along, he'll love me despite how much he'll want to tell me sometimes to shut the eff up.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What's Important

Not that I've ever had trouble identifying my priorities, but events this past week have made what's important even more glaringly obvious.

I found out that my cousin took his life last Thursday.

I can't even begin to imagine what my aunt and cousins are going through right now. I was stunned when I heard the news. This is something that happens in movies or to people you read about in the newspaper, not in real life. It's crazy that suicide has touched my family. I truly hope they are able to get through this time, and I wish I could be there for them right now in some way.

Hearing about various people in my family being affected by either an affair or suicide (and lest we forget - cancer) has been a lot to take in this past week. I know it sounds weird, but I feel like I'm not allowed to feel sad about all of this - I feel like my pain is nothing compared to the pain they all must be feeling, so it's not right for me to act like this is happening to me, if that even makes sense. These tragedies are closer to home for these people, and I feel so helpless.

What I take from these events is that minor things truly don't matter. The ignorant opinions of bitter small-minded people, various issues at work, worrying about money - all of those are not a concern of mine right now.

I didn't really want to get into serious stuff like infidelity and death, but I feel like it's worth mentioning if it gives just a wee bit more insight into my life. I've never been one to ever think my problems outweigh others', which is why I blog about mostly irrelevant things. I don't ever want this blog to be a soap box for me to complain about how hard I have it - because let's face it, I know how fortunate I am and how the proverbial grass always looks greener.

To even bring up serious family issues is not how I want to roll - this blog is meant to be a creative outlet for me to dispel the random, irrelevant ramblings of my mind. Is this really the most appropriate forum for me to delve into my inner-most secrets? Hell no! My dad reads this and doesn't need to know about my insane coke addiction (that would be sarcasm, people).

These personal tragedies have also shifted my thinking when it comes to work. I've been looking into my priorities for what I want to do with my life, and I became inspired reading another girl's blog where she details the work she is doing in Africa. To be honest, it makes me feel so insignificant in my job. Don't get me wrong - I love what I do. But I just have always felt this overwhelming sense that I'm meant to do more. While I'm young and free, why not dedicate myself to cause like that girl in Africa is doing?

I do volunteer a fair amount now, but I may look into doing something full-time in the future, maybe something similar to that girl's Africa experience, possibly related to women's rights since that has always been a passion of mine. I keep seeing all of these people on Facebook getting engaged and popping out kids. We're in our 20s, people! This is the time to be free. I honestly don't see myself settling down anytime soon. There's too much I want to accomplish without the dead weight of a relationship.

So in sum, I have the best family in the world and I know everyone will get through these rough times. One of my favorite quotes is "Tough times don't last, but tough people do." I really hope this cloudy time passes for everyone. For now, I just want to hug those I love while I still have them and dedicate my life to things that truly matter.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Fed Up with Bad Boys

I know this doesn't apply to all of them, but when are guys going to stop being such selfish pricks?

I was completely thrown recently when I found out that a family very close to me is crumbling because of an affair.

Yes, women do cheat as well, but what's with this whole influx of men galavanting around town, having numerous extramarital conquests, popping out love children and ruining the lives of everyone around them?

Let's see, there's John Edwards, Tiger Woods and Jesse James. There's the ex-husband of my close friend and now this current douche lord that I just found out about. All of them putting themselves ahead of their partners and families.

My only theory is this sense of entitlement that these cheaters feel because of their positions of power, arrogance, self-righteousness and feelings of invincibility. If enough people are kissing their asses, and if their narcissism continues to expand, it's a clear warning sign that eventually they'll stray from morality.

I also think society perpetuates this behavior - how many times do we dismiss men behaving badly by saying, "Well, he's just being a guy" or "Boys will be boys!" We accept douche-baggery by declaring it as the natural make-up of the male DNA.

I'm guilty of this myself, I'll admit. I've dismissed certain things guys have done to me, believing that that's "just the way it is" and that men might truly be from Mars.

But this, for the most part, is bullshit. By minimizing negative behaviors, we participate in a cycle that creates the message that there's nothing we can do about it. And thus, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. We expect the bad in guys, and guys do bad things because it's expected of them.

I know there are good men out there - plenty of them. My dad is a great example - a truly loyal man who believes and practices equality. But it still angers me that boys are not growing up being taught how to treat others well.

I know this is a generalization, but we're teaching boys to not cry, not show emotions, stay tough, and to be extra nice to girls (because chivalry basically means going easy on all us meek, incapable ladies). This whole idea of "chivalry" is counter-productive - I don't think it's teaching men to respect women. Any asshole can open a door for a woman or throw down his credit card when the check comes at dinner.

If I ever have a son, I vow to not raise him any differently than I would a daughter. I have several girlfriends who grew up with brothers that got away with a whole lot more than they did, like being allowed to have their girlfriends spend the night when they were in high school, yet my friends couldn't even have their doors closed when a boy was over. It's ludicrous! The same rules should be applied to all - we are all accountable for our actions, gender aside.

I'm so sick, tired and 100% fed up with this asshole era of men. It's time for the bad ones to learn what being a real man means. Stop basking in your half-assed attempts at making relationships work and - to use a highly sexist phrase - grow a pair!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Dinosaur Next Door

One of my biggest pet peeves is when a way older guy hits on a way younger girl.

There have been times when I've been said younger girl, and I never understood why someone would talk to me considering how young I look in the first place. Hello! The curly hair puts me at about 17.

Well, I was faced with a fun old man encounter this week. The office next to ours is an accounting office, and the owner's son has been helping out with tax season. My co-worker Sofia & I have run into him a couple times (he has a dog with him - who wouldn't stop for that?), and we've chatted politely. I aged him at about early to mid-40s, so I thought he might be a good match up for another co-worker of mine, Laura.

The guy, whom I'll call Dinosaur, came over to our office a couple times to chat with us, and I thought my match-making would work after he asked to join us for happy hour last week when we were celebrating Laura's birthday.

Then the creepiness started to seep out.

He came by one day and lurked into my office.

"Britney Spears!" he exclaimed.

Ummmm, what???

"That's the perfume you're wearing, right? I have this thing where I know women's perfume."

By the way, he said all this in a gay tone (not that there's anything wrong with that, but I don't know why this metro side started to show after already talking to him two times before).

I told him no, I was not wearing Britney Spears. Then I made the mistake of giving him my business card at when he told me he'd forgotten my name. He ended the conversation telling me he was excited to go get drinks - "And I want to sit by you. I know you best." Yikes.

He sauntered off, and I realized then that we had to nip this in the bud STAT. There was no way I was going to let a creeper crash Laura's birthday drinks.

So I went over to his office with Sofia, and we told him, Shucks! Our boss had already made reservations for just our office. He continued to keep a goofy, serial killer-esque grin on his face as he responded with, "OK, which one of you freshened up your perfume? That smell is just intoxicating!" Okaaaaaaaay.

I was off on Friday, and I guess he came in the office asking for me. He asked Laura about my Nevada plates on my car and if I was related to someone else with my last name who's from Nevada. Wait, he knows what car I drive now??

I thought we were out of the woods until he e-mailed me the other day (dammit! I knew passing my card out to any Tom, Dick or Harry was a bad idea). He used the phrase "LOL" about 5 times minimum. Sorry, buddy. Using 'tween lingo doesn't detract from the fact that you are fossilized.

He asked me out for lunch or drinks since his assignment at his dad's office is ending after Tax Day next week (I never thought I'd say this but I LOVE the IRS right now). He ended the e-mail with his cell phone number and the comment "I'm a really good texter....LOL!"

When did it become OK for old geizers to ask out women half their age? Yes, if he were George Clooney, the whole age thing wouldn't matter. But the truth is that Dinosaur is practically twice my age, sexually confused and likely to chop me up and store me in his refrigerator.

At first, I chose not to respond to his e-mail, but after letting it stew for a day, I got pissed. Someone needed to set this mummified mister straight, and it might as well be me.

I was brief, but I told him, "I'm going to have to pass on lunch and drinks. I'm too young for you, my friend!" I thought about being direct and saying instead that he's too old for me, but I figured this got my point across. I'm not going to sugar coat things and give him the ol' "I have a boyfriend" excuse. He needs to know that it's better for him to stick with the ladies at shuffle board matches.

Age aside, before writing him back I decided to Google him. And guess what I found? A civil court case from 8 years ago where he was accused of theft! See, you can't trust many people these days. But thank God for my Nancy Drew skills. It made it easier for me to be direct with him. Oh, and I also found out he's 39. Not in the 40s like I thought, but still! 15 years my senior is still bogus.

I guess he didn't get the e-mail in time because 15 minutes after I sent it, he called my office!!! Thankfully, Laura answered it for me because I was in a meeting. He left me a voicemail asking me if I wanted to walk and get a sandwich with him (I assumed he'd want a prune juice to go with it). Needless to say, I never called back.

I haven't heard from him since, so I think he got the message. Now everytime I go out in the hall to use the bathroom, go to the mailbox or head to the garage, I pretend I'm on my cell phone so I can avoid any sort of conversation. Oh boy, how I'm looking forward to Tax Day.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Why Rely On a Man When You Have Google?

This past weekend was a swirl of emotions - mainly I had what my dad calls a "case of the blahs."

I had Friday off of work, so Erica and I did our big move. Her family was a HUGE help - I just adore them! Too bad I was Grumpy Gretchen the whole time. It was raining and windy (go figure - the last 3 times I've moved, it was raining. It's like the weather gods just know). Then Comcast never showed up to install cable and Internet. Don't those beezies know I need to be in touch with the real world??

The lowest point of the day was when a large spark spewed out the back of my computer tower, and it refused to turn on after that.

Panic set in. I was manic and frantic (ooh, so many rhymes). In the midst of my desperation, I did the one thing I swore I would never do again.

I texted the ex.

Reason being - he built the damn thing, so I figured he'd have a quick answer to my problems. Mainly, I just wanted to know what the hell happened and if all of my information was lost. Trust me, had I 1) had an alternative computer geek in my phone book or 2) taken time to calm down, I would have avoided contacting this person altogether. But alas, I did.

He wrote back later, saying he was at work and that it sounded like something with my power supply. I asked if he could look at it at all, and if not, what he recommend I do. He said he was out of town for the weekend and that I'd better have a pro look at it. In other words - don't talk to me, bitch. I'm not going to help your sorry ass.

I never wrote back after that.

Thankfully, my weekend ended on a high note when my mom and sister came into town for Easter. Sunday, we spent the day at my Grams' with all of my cousins and aunts and uncle, and it was just what I needed to cheer myself up from this gloomy, annoying weekend. I used my aunt's computer to Google my spark problem. Apparently, I might need a new power cord, so I'm going to Fry's later to pick one up.

And thus, the lesson is glaringly obvious - never rely on a man for anything.

If this whole power cord business fails, I'm taking my comp to Fry's or the Geek Squad to get it checked out. And then I'm promptly taking all of the information stored on it, and transferring it to a new computer that I wish to buy for myself - with a warranty - so that when shit goes down, I'm not stuck in a pickle of either electrocuting myself or texting an ex (because really, it's a toss up there on which one's worse).

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Apart from the Old Apartment

I'm leaving my precious little abode this weekend and moving into a 2 bedroom with Erica (same complex, but new unit is down the street).

We did the walk through of it today (after signing the lease), and it's not as nice as my current unit. That's a bummer. Erica seems to hate it more than I do - her room is significantly smaller, and the lock on her bathroom doesn't work.

Sure, it's minor stuff, but it really got me thinking about how much it sucks being in your 20s and being too poor to afford living somewhere nice.

Don't get me wrong, I am the cheapest, most simplistic person you'll ever meet. I'm not trying to live in the Taj Mahal by any means, but why must I endure living in small quarters with so-so appliances next to rowdy neighbors?

Sure, my living alone these past 6 months has been great. My place was relatively spacious, and I kept it nice and clean. The main reason for my moving is to save money so that I can build up my savings for a pipe dream of mine down the road (San Francisco!). And I love being around Erica - she's one of my favorite people and always keeps me laughing.

I think these next few months with Erica will be fine, despite some minor glitches of our new place. OK, so our new neighbor has an entire aisle's worth of empty beer boxes outside his door. And yeah, I can't run around naked doing a genie dance to the theme of "Sex & the City" as I get out of the shower. But it's high time I get a nice dose of reality and optimism, and remind myself why I'm doing this:

1) Saving money
2) Feeling safer having someone there
3) Having someone to talk to
4) Walk-in closet!
5) Real shower doors (bye bye shower curtain! I will not miss you)
6) Someone to keep Cammie company at times when I'm gone

Let's hope this goes OK....if not, our lease is up in 6 months. Then it's back to Square 1.