I really hate Busybodies

Gladys

Abner! There’s something strange going on over there.

There’s a whole lot of folks that won’t get that reference.

For those of you that do… Well, we’re probably of a similar age.

Anyhoo, I’m heading into the laundry room (Locked by the way, so I have my key.) and this old woman comes out onto her little patio to tell me that I’m not allowed to use the laundry room.

“Is it out of order,” I ask.

“No you can’t use it because it’s for residents only.”

“I’m a resident.”

“You can’t be, you’re not old enough, so don’t lie to me. I’m calling the manager.”

“Call away! I pay my rent on time and cause no-one any trouble. Let’s see how this plays out with Michelle.”

Laundry Room

I walk into the laundry room and go on about my business. She on the other hand does not go about her business. Apparently, Now I’m her business.

“I’m not calling the apartment management, If you keep putting your clothes in the washers I will unplug them when you’re gone,” She yells from the safety of her patio.

“Look ‘Gladys’ that would be a mistake on your part, I’m a resident here and have been for a year and a half,” I say loudly.

I’m calling the cops!”

I think, “OH for Fucks sake.” 

I go back to the door of the laundry room, “Really? You honestly think that this is a matter for the police?”

“Yes, I’m afraid!”

I on the other hand am PISSED. All I wanted to do was get my laundry in the washer, go back to my apartment, have another cup of coffee, some breakfast, and then come back to put my stuff in the dryer.

“Afraid of WHAT? Its broad daylight, there are people all over the place, what could you possibly think is going to happen? You’d be better served by minding your own business, instead of trying to provoke a conflict. If you think something is amiss after observing a situation for a few minutes, then call the cops.”

“You’re wearing a ball cap, and you look too young to be here. You’re up to no good.”

I take off my baseball cap, just to check and make sure it’s not a confederate flag, or an American flag, or NRA logo or a Swastika. It’s not. It says, “Dive” with a small little divers flag. 

“Look you old crone, profile much? Is the white in my beard not enough for you? The crows feet around my eyes don’t tell you I’m old enough? Who the hell died and made you die Führer? Where exactly do you get off calling someone a liar to their face? What would it take, you want to see the gray hair on my balls? Would that do it? ”

Gladys2

Crossed a line there… I know. The stunned look on her face was damn funny… and totally worth it.

Just as I delivered that line, Michelle, the apartment manager was rounding the corner. She laughed out loud.

I turned towards the sound.

“Oh hey Michelle, sorry about that, would you explain to this person that I’m a resident?”

Michelle in her usual calm way said, “Sure, Happy to do it.”

“Thanks”

I went back into the laundry room, and went about my business. I could hear the wannabe Gladys Kravitz saying, “How was I to know?”

Michelle responded, “Because he had a key to the laundry room.”

“Well, he was rude to me.”

“From what I heard, it sounded like you provoked him. He’s one of our best tenants, quiet, generally nice, pays his rent, makes good suggestions, takes action when it’s warranted, but mostly keeps to himself.” 

Laundry started, I locked and closed the door to the laundry room, then went back to the relative solitude of my own apartment.

Over my next cup of coffee a bunch of things that went through my mind.

Trump

Why was that lady afraid? What prompts fear that makes you treat complete strangers as if they’re out to get you?

I’ll grant you, the chaos of our nation isn’t easy to deal with.  I wonder if unreasoning fear is part of what’s driving the chaos.

Yeah, Trump may not be your guy or even the guy, but he’s only the most recent in a long line of Presidents, and he’s not a dictator. Well, not yet anyway.

Nixon

I mean, you could say that the quality of Presidents, while always hit & miss, has perhaps been more miss than hit since the Nixon administration.

Perhaps longer, but I came of age the day Nixon left office under a cloud of corruption and scandal.

I can’t comment too much on Presidents up to the Nixon era because I was blissfully ignorant & uncaring of anything except my next little league game.

What happened to live and let live? Why would someone feel it’s necessary to try to reach out and control the actions of a complete stranger, especially when there is nothing to gain and the likelihood you’ll start a conflict?

It makes no sense to me. 

NAZI SS

Maybe I’m the odd man out. I just want to get through my day unmolested and without molesting anyone else. I’m seeking peace and simplicity, not angst and conflict (conflict leading to complication).

To put it simply, I just want to be left the hell alone.

I care nothing for politics. I care nothing for grandiose protests or demonstrations. Largely, these acts of theater don’t bring change.

I sure as hell don’t believe in vandalism of anyone’s property (state or private) whether I agree with them or not.

There is a better way, a peaceful way. It’s the way of listening and speaking with calm and logic, not violence and cruelty.

If someone isn’t going to listen to rational conversation, they’re not going to listen to riots. They’ll take action, usually draconian, but they will not have heard what you were trying to say.

ISIL

Granted, I didn’t practice what I preach this morning. So sue me, I hadn’t had my second cup of coffee yet.

In retrospect, perhaps I could see why the lady was afraid. If all she’s been seeing is CNN and Fox News. Perhaps she’s concluded that anyone wearing a dark colored hat is ANTIFA and she’s afraid of what that means. 

ANTIFA

I know I find myself looking at the ANTIFA crowd and thinking that they behave a lot more like fascists, and look more like the Symbionese Liberation Army, or ISIS than the historical depictions of the NAZI SS.

At least the SS was neatly dressed and you typically saw their faces, instead of looking like the depictions of traditional roadside bandits, or bank robbers.

My Grandmother once said, “If you’re doing something where you feel you need to cover your face, it’s probably something you shouldn’t be doing.

She had a point. Protesting in the open where people can see your face says two things. 1) You’re not ashamed of your position. 2) You want to stand up and be counted and recognize there may be consequences. 

I have respect for anyone who is open and unafraid to speak their mind. I don’t have to agree, but I do have to respect their dedication and position.

I wonder if the need to control other’s actions is a reflection of just basic insecurity.

The world is too big to control and there are too many moving parts so people try to control the local things; don’t Smoke, don’t drink, don’t let your children walk home or ride the bus. Don’t eat fatty foods, don’t get fat, don’t be too thin.

Does insecurity inevitably lead to imposition of measures to control everyone else? 

If that assertion is true, it leads to a simple equation. You must be an elite pulling the strings, or else you’re one of the people being led around.

So you’re right back to fear being the root cause of a lot of the problems we see today.

My friends, its time to step into the light. Go forth into your day and your community being unafraid. Choose to see the better in people and understand that we all have the same basic needs, wants, and desires.

Speak your mind, listen to others, and really hear them. You don’t have to agree, just acknowledge that other peoples opinions and beliefs matter too. Recognize that you’re not necessarily right, and treat others with respect. Instead of running to tell a cop someone dropped trash somewhere, bend over and pick it up. Set a good example, and pay no attention to the people acting badly.

Hopefully, in time, the world will become a better place because we choose to lead by example, not by force.

That’s not to say force is off the table. But it should always be a last resort.

Time to put the clothes in the dryer…

Happy August!

Soon the kids will be back in school, and traffic will be a bit better, at least during the school day.

The mess will start as the “Special Little Snowflakes” have to be dropped off, and picked up.

But traffic to and from the beaches will easier and at the times I usually travel that’s a good thing.

Selfish Huh?

Well see how you feel sitting in San Diego traffic that’s bumper to bumper for no reason other than the roads are clogged with possibly the worst drivers in America, then add to that young drivers in a hurry to get to their fun.

Yeah, I’m selfish.

Ok Time to set some boundaries!

We’ve all been there. The person across the table from you is paying far more attention to their phone than they are to you, Even though they’re supposed to be there to talk with you.

We are becoming slaves to our technology… Some would say the ship has sailed.

This fact crashed through my ability to ignore it, in a major way a couple of days ago while I was having my hair cut. 

Yep, the barber was texting while he was cutting my hair. Uh excuse me? I’m paying for 30 minutes of your time. The expectation is that I’m going to get 30 uninterrupted minutes.  Surely the person at the other end of that conversation knows you’re at work, and what you do for a living.

Needless to say I will not be going back to that shop.

This got me thinking about some boundaries that we should start observing.

  1. If you’re with people in the real world, pay attention to the people you’re with, not the phone. Try silent or do not disturb mode.
  2. If you’re texting with someone, finish that conversation, before you join the conversation with a group of real people
  3. If your phone rings while you’re with friends, and you must take the call, it’s your children, your mom or whoever, excuse yourself and step away, or out of the building to have your conversation. Keep the conversation brief.
  4. If it’s a call you don’t have to take, Send it to voicemail. You can do that by discretely pressing a power, or volume down button.
  5. If you’re Skyping with someone, the rest of us don’t want to be involved in your conversation. So, stop screaming into you phone. By the way, that also includes not turning up the volume to drown out the crowd around you.

You have voicemail on your phone, USE IT!

Imagine a world where we turned on our phones only when we were intending to use them. No more annoying ringtones in public places, people actually speaking to other people on the street (Gasp). No more people walking into fountains, or open elevator shafts, or manholes.

What a concept!

Imagine having sex and not hearing the insistent buzz, ding, chirp of your cellphone demanding your attention. After all are you going to accept a Skype call while you’re nailing someone to the sheets? Do you really need to share that?

If you get someone’s voicemail leave a damn message! After leaving a message, how about waiting an hour or two before sending text messages, or emails, to find out if the other person got your voicemail.

You might also consider setting up a list of preferred people that will have the ability to ring through your do not disturb setting. Like your kids, your mom, and your spouse. I’ve done that and exactly four people have that privilege. They’ll get through first try, anyone not on that list will go to voicemail.

Headhunters, placement agents, etc… 

YOU’RE NOT ALLOWED to call, hang-up, call, hang-up, and call, hang-up trying to bust through the DND setting. Nothing you have to say to me isn’t going to wait an hour. If you’re one of those people and have tried that with my number, I can tell you you’ve been blocked. I have no desire to speak with you.

Just because we live in a mostly connected world, doesn’t mean that we’re supposed to be available to everyone all the time.

Try this as an experiment sometime. Turn your phone off while you’re driving somewhere. I’ll bet you get to your destination less stressed.

I guess I’m just an old guy. 

I like the convenience of the technology, but I refuse to become a slave to it.

If you try to call me and get no answer, it’s nothing personal. I just prefer living my  life in the real world, I’m not quite ready to join The Matrix just yet. 

If you are offended by me not answering your call, just imagine that I’m naked with someone!

That image alone should make you hesitant to call me at least for a couple of hours.

I signed off the job sites for a reason…

Social Media

I killed the LinkedIn, Dice, Monster, Indeed, Glassdoor, and I don’t remember how many more, accounts because they were bringing no value and no job leads. They were however wasting a lot of my time.

These sites opened my email box to a seemingly never-ending stream of “Job Leads” that can at best be described as useless. I think of them as SPAM.

I relented recently. The company I work for kept telling us to join LinkedIn “Greatest thing since sliced bread” according to them… In reality it’s nothing more than a pain in the ass. I have no interest in reading the company propaganda on my own time.

helpwanted

Recent events and the realization that I will not be able to advance in any way with the  company forced me to reconsider my position about using these employment oriented websites. 

So I also started a job search using the only method left to me, the job sites. 

Einstein said something like; Continuing to do the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.

So I’m crazy. Not by choice, but by necessity.

Knowing what I was in for has helped make this insanity a bit more tolerable. 

angryemail

I was looking at my email this morning and had 24 emails from headhunters that pretty much all start;

“Hi I’m a recruiter from (blah blah technical sounding name) and I found your resume. I think that you’re exactly what my client is looking for…”

The stroking goes on from there. Most often there is a considerable amount of boilerplate crap about what a wonderful, well respected, profitable, and important “mover and shaker” the recruiting company is. (Do a Google street view address search of many of these places and you’ll find a hole in the wall between a whorehouse and a bar.)

By the time the “recruiter” gets to the point and describes the actual position two things become obvious.

1) This “Professional” recruiter hasn’t read your resume.

2) They have no concept of geography.

Job Search Apps

I’ve written about this in the past.

I never bothered to keep any statistics on the emails, until now.

How many are actually valid?

How many are from real placement firms?

I got a sample set of 24 in the past week. I’m thinking about how to work up a way to represent the statistics in a nice chart form. If I’m successful I’ll post it here.

For now though, here’s a quick take away from the current sample of 24.

Of those, only 6 were for positions in my actual area of expertise.

Only 2 of the 6 were actually in the state in which I reside

Only 1 of the 6 was within 200 miles.

Yipeee! I’m going to have a new job any day now.

All but 3 of these “Leads” were from Indians (Dot, not Feather)

The 2 leads in my state were from people with European names, and were in fact, local recruiting firms.

1 of the original 24 leads started out with a bald faced lie. “I’ve tried repeatedly to reach you”

Uh, no you haven’t, there’s no record of anyone calling my only phone, from the area code, prefix, or number you listed in your email, much less a voice mail.

The remaining 18 “Leads” were for positions that were ludicrous. A one month contracting position in NJ. A 3 month position in NY (for the kings ransom of $15 an hour, No benefits) and all of these were nothing like what my resume says I do. I’m not a software engineer, or developer. I’m also not a clerical person.

Frustrating Job Search

At the bottom of each of these “Great & exciting opportunities” is a message, “Please forward this email to anyone you know that might be qualified.”

Nope! Won’t do it. I’m not going to do your job for you Mr. recruiter. If you want candidates to fill these positions, you probably better start beating the bushes.  I’d suggest getting on your knees and blowing me, if you want my help. But I value my dick too much, and wouldn’t want to contract some screaming gow gow that rotted my member off at the root.

Needless to say, I fully recall why I gave up on the job search boards.  Of the applications that I have submitted for jobs that I’m capable of…

Zilch! Nada! 

Those applications have disappeared into a black hole.

So tell me again how the job market in California is improving???

Not that I’m surprised by any of this. If have a couple of friends trying to get the hell out of the place that we work. They’re encountering the same BS and we’re wondering collectively what the next move is.

For the time being we all just keep holding onto the jobs that we have and keep working to get something better.

All of us are fighting the depressing reality that we may be royally screwed.

Well, Chin up. Think of England!

Wow That’s Secure!

So secure that even I (the intended recipient can’t get it….

My insurance company sent me a message saying that there were messages waiting on their site.

There’s a link. It’s valid, and does in fact link to their web site.

I click on the link, and it takes me to a page that asks me to create a password to view my messages. I create a password. Then I get five emails in my normal email, each of them contains a PDF that is encrypted. I figure out that the password I just created in fact will open these PDFS. 

I enter the password and find that each of the PDFs says the same thing. NOTHING.

In the mean time, the password has reset ALL my passwords on for the insurance company and since I had their application running on my phone when the password reset happened. That counted as an invalid attempt to access the account. Then I try to acces the account from their web site to see if I can read the messages they wanted me to read…  BOOM, now I’m locked out. 

I tried to reset my password again… NOPE! Too many accesses within too short a time…

I still don’t have the messages that they wanted to send me.

I call my agent. They don’t have any idea what the company is trying to reach me about. I ask my agent to tell the company I’m not going to use their web site anymore. I want every communication on paper, mailed to me with a stamp. 

I’ve spent over an hour trying to get this all so important message from the company and honestly… I’ve lost my desire to worry about it. They can wait for me to get the information on paper via USPS. 

Technology is supposed to make this kind of thing easier, not harder.

The really annoying thing is that I have several encryption keys. The insurance company could have simply accessed one of the public keys, encrypted the message and sent it securely to my email where I could have conveniently read my message. 

All of this pissing around with their kludge “security” has done nothing but annoy the hell out of me. It’s screwed up the account for me and my other half and now I’ll have to spend yet more time (probably hours) unfucking this fuckup.

Grrrrr!

I have to laugh…

At the end of last year, the company moved our department into a building that was still under construction. Throughout the winter months my department was like a set of “The Walking Dead“. We had people blowing through their sick time like it was candy. (Myself included.) Around the beginning of the year we had people coming in with various flus, walking pneumonia, colds, and sinus infections. Which they passed around freely. So most of us have little to no sick time left.  (Myself included)

So a month ago I had and accident.  Annoying, totaled my car, and required me to take a day off with more time off to lick my wounds, and get myself right again.

If I worked for a “normal” company, since I have plenty of vacation time on the books, I’d be able to simply use vacation time on request to take care of medical issues and any therapy I needed. I’d go to work and do my best to schedule time so as not to disrupt the business and there’d be nothing said about it.

However, I don’t work for a “normal” company. I work for a company that has instituted this crazy system of penalizing you if you take a day off without prior management approval. Even with this system in place there is a loophole that will allow you to deal with emergencies, (Or car accidents) without penalty. The problem is, that your manager has it at their discretion to enforce the penalties, OR NOT. 

I happen to work for one of the ones that refuses to exercise that discretion. My manager is one of the rule bound ones.

Which leads me to the situation I’m in now.

In order to be able to make appointments, and not be penalized for doing it. The company makes you go to a government agency.  That Agency contacts your Dr., your Dr. fills out a bunch of forms, which he / or she sends back to the government agency, then they determine if you’re worthy.

After their determination they send the forms back to the company. And all the penalties magically disappear and you then have permission to miss work to go take care of your health.

In other words it’s an overly complex mess that should be handled between the employer and employee. Then again… you have to keep bureaucrats busy don’t you?

Well in my case, the Dr circled the wrong box on one page, and this morning, I got a call from HR telling me that I shouldn’t be at work because I was on continuous leave.

This is what happens when you abdicate responsibility.

Not that I’m complaining, I need some down time. Even a day or two will be more than fine. Just so long as I don’t feel like I’m running to beat the clock, punch the clock, be on schedule, or dance to someone else’s tune.

In other words, I’m going to have a drink, go to bed, and have nothing planned for tomorrow. That will be a nice change after weeks of running to the NEXT thing.  Hell, I may even turn the phone off.