Boy, do I have some Tales to Tell...
One of the best parts of my job is that I get to work with a lot of exceptionally artistic people. I work with musicians, sculptors, clothing designers, painters, singers, and food enthusiasts. While working, we tend to chat about all kinds of things besides the food we put out. My co-worker, Lee, and I are always talking about some stage/tv performance. It always varies from total awe to hysterical fits of laughter over how bad some performances are. Another thing that we do is recast shows. Our latest obsession is recasting Wicked the musical. Funny thing is that Lee is not gay. Although he wishes that he was so that people would just stop asking if he were.
Anyway, we were thinking Christina Aguilera as Elphaba. Could you just die watching her belt out "Defying Gravity"? Lee thought it would be genius to have Britney as Xtina's Glinda but, alas, Britney couldn't and hasn't hit a high note... ever. I said Deborah Gibson. He almost fell off his ladder laughing. So, who do you think should be Xtina's Glinda? Suggestions?
I never thought I would, and I never ever think I am good at it, but for the past 11 or so years, I have been working in the Customer Service industry. First, in the Fitness/Exercise Field and now in retail. I still think I am bad at it. I still think that I may be stepping over the line when it comes to handling customers. I guess I'll know how bad I am when I get fired from a job. Not that I expect to or plan on being fired but sometimes I think that the last thing I said is going to get me canned.
For example: on a very busy night at work, I was called to an aisle by a co-worker. Apparently, some lady wanted to know if we had any raw almonds. We had been out for a month because of the poor harvest and were not sure when we would be getting them back. I relayed this story to her and she said that everytime she goes to the other store, she finds them there. I looked her in the eye and said, "Oh good, now you know where to find them." I turned on my heels and walked away. I probably flipped my imaginary long, blond hair too. I thought for sure I was going to be fired for that.
Also: It was one of those long weeks. I was on my tenth night in a row of working and I was truly exhausted and cranky. On top of it, I was in the midst of a two week vegan cleanse. AND it was 10 minutes before closing. Again, I was called by a co-worker to come to the baking aisle to help with a customer. He had wanted a product which we had just ran out of. Apparently, everyone had read the New York Times article on the benefits of said product. I told him that we had just run out of it and we were expecting a shipment tomorrow morning. He jumped into his speech about how he's been coming to this store for ten years and we never have anything in stock. I looked him in the eye and said, "First, we have only been open for five years. Second, if we never have anything in stock, why do you keep coming back again and again? And for "ten" years?" He kept mumbling as he walked away. I thought for sure that I was going to get called the next day and be released.
Plus: Our company has decided to discontinue some of our frozen private label products. The first reason being that the manufacturer of our frozen beef lasagna had decided to go out of business. Despite it's popularity, the company has decided not to find a new manufacturer and just bring in new brands of frozen foods. While working near the frozen section, I heard a guy say to his wife that he could not find it. I approached them in my friendliest customer service mode and asked if they needed help. They asked for the beef lasagna that we no longer offer. I told him the story and offered him some alternatives. He turned to me and said, "You have caused a lot of unhappiness in this world." I looked at him and said, "Over beef lasagna?" I also gave him a "look" which made his wife scream in laughter. He was not pleased. I thought for sure this was the one which would get me fired.
Truth is, I think I am not stepping over any lines. I think that I am just responding to the stupidity of the customer. I won't suffer the fool gladly. I make sure that I respond in a way that seems pleasant albeit pointing out how ridiculous their behavior is. I honestly don't feel that I am being rude. Sarcastic, yeah. Rude, no. I do have this tendency to say things that may point out the absoulute lunacy of their behavior. Is that really bad customer service? I'm I supposed to allow myself to be demeaned because a customer is unable to think clearly? I don't think anyone should. So we don't have a certain item. You aren't going to die. Get over it. Get something else. Try something new. And for once, don't tell me something unless it is going to help me help you better.
Fat, old lady: Do you carry Trader Joe's Strawberry Jam?
Me: We're Whole Foods, Ma'am?
Fat, old lady: I know that. So, you don't carry it?
Me: Why would we carry our competitor's private label?
Fat, old lady: There's no need for sarcasm. You just have to say no.
Me: Ahh, there I go, not thinking again.
Fat, old lady walks away silent.
I think last night at work was the worst I have ever had. I was the closing supervisor on Monday (the busiest day of the week). I was short-staffed to begin with because one of the team members gave us 4 days notice. He was offered a job in his field, so I can't feel bad for him at all. That left me with four closers, including me. Then, 20 minutes before the closing shift was to start, another team member came in and said that he had to quit immedieately. Something about moving away for school blah, blah, blahbity, blah. Yeah, thanks, hope you don't get hit by a truck... NOT! And then, to make matters worst, a team member from a sub-team went home sick. So, the three of us had to help them with their work. And, if you forgot, it's the busiest day of the week.
I know that I'm gay but I don't think I've ever been fucked up the ass this bad. Later.
While watching Farenheit 9/11 this evening, Mike turned to me and said, "You have to admit, Michael Moore is a bit of an asshole. Don't you think?" I responded, "Absolutely not. All he's doing is exposing the truth about what GW is capable of. His actions are meant to expose the hypocrisy of one man. A man who's actions has destroyed our country."
Ever so often, I am reminded about how different my husband's upbringing is from mine. For some reason, he has turned out to be the type of person who does not believe in making waves. He has opinions on many things. Our opinions are always the same except for one thing: I am all about making waves. Okay, not necessarily waves for waves' sake. If I feel strongly about something, you will be hearing about it.
When the documentary ended, we both shook our heads and voiced our disappointment with our President. We both feel sad and angry about the unnecessary deaths. We both think that George is a moron. We both see the absurdity of spending billions of dollars on killing our living children yet taking a few million away from finding cures for diseases because you feel you are killing potential lives. What about the 1000's of children you have killed already? Not to mention the millions of families who are basically dead from the loss of a loved one? What about them GW? Did you ever stop to think that the preciousness of life doesn't end after birth? And what about the millions more you could save from the horrors of disease? How precious are those? Did you ever think of those lives? Obviously not.
So, like a lot of people, I am addicted to Project Runway. Last night's show's challenge was to design an evening gown for Miss USA. She is supposedly going to wear the gown at the upcoming Ms. Universe pageant. The winner was this purple gown with a monstrously hideous thing at the bottom. It was just one big bush of a purple. Nothing new to the pageant world but, then again, like our Republican President, the pageant world is stuck in the past.
After watching the show again this morning, I noticed that the judges were a bit tame when it came to discussing the big purple upside-down broccoli-spear of a dress. The true fashion judges liked another gown more and their comments on the purple explosion were not... well, really comments.
Here is my question: is the Beauty Pageant world really about fashion? Okay, modern fashion? Isn't it just one big tacky explosion of taffeta and sequins? Do we really think that the true winner was Kayne and not Uli? Uli was robbed. She should demand a recount. Then again, the tacky blond fake-faced stupid Miss Useless-A picked the winner. Who the fuck knows if she really has one iota of fashion sense. I hope they keep idiots like that away from Project Runway. Modern fashion, kids, modern fashion. Later.
"Don't stoop to his level. You're a much bigger person than that."
You think so? Is that phrase supposed to make me feel better about myself? Am I supposed to feel more superior to the perpetrator of the actions that are supposed to hurt my feelings?
Even as a child, I have always wondered why people say that. Despite what some people who know me think, I am human. And, as a human being, my first gut instinct is to retaliate. And by that, I don't mean violence... necessarily. For example, if someone shows up at your doorstep and begins to scream expletives at you, do you just calmly ask them to leave? Not me. And this comes from my mother, I open the door and shove my foot into their stomach, then into their face as the writhe in pain on the floor. For me, I don't see that as "stooping to his level". I see that as come again and I will kick your ass again.
Again, if someone comes up to me and begins to say stupid things, I always have some sort of comeback. Thank goodnes that my mother taught me the power of wit and cutdowns. If you are going to come to me and begin talking shit, then guess what... shit will be tossed back in return. I think that is only fair. I don't think it's stooping to any lower level. Talk shit, get shit back. Again, my mother's motto.
Now before anyone starts to relate all this to the war in the Middle East, blah blah blah... STOP! I am talking about people who invade your personal space and try to demean your well-being. I'm only talking on a personal level. I'm not condoning bombing a city or setting one's house on fire. If you have that much anger, then your issues are way past my race, sexuality, or way of life. You need to sort that shit out with your mama. Because the bitch fucked you up.
Please don't get me wrong: I love hanging out with friends. Few things please me more than spending some time with friends just hanging out, getting a drink or a bite, chatting while taking walks. I love it. I can even stand to go out to a nightclub with a friend, once in a while.
But recently, with all the goings-on at work, the increased responsibility, plus the horrid monsoon-like tropical-heat weather, I am not so big on hanging out... except if it's at home in my boxers and tank top. All I want is to make dinner, have a glass of wine, a nice refreshing frozen treat, and alternate my television between Bravo and Logo. Nothing would please me more than taking a shower and taking a nap. Ahhhhh, blissssss.
I feel bad because summer is a great time to get together with friends. And honestly, I tend to only hang out with close friends. Once in a while, I'll tag along with someone new but it rarely happens. I feel bad because I want to spend time with my friends too but I am just too tired. And don't even get me started about going out to Brooklyn or any of the other boroughs. And on top of it all, I work a customer service job... so, when you are off, I am not.
I feel guilty but at the same time, I feel like I deserve the time to myself and my husband. Because those things do please me a bit more. It's selfish. But sometimes, you just have to be. Later.
The other day, at work, my team held interviews for two Assistant Team Leaders. There were five applicants, three from the team and two from outside. I don't think I have ever been in a more emotionally draining process in my life. I am surprised at myself because I take pride in being able to cut out my emotions when it comes to situations like this.
Two of the applicants for the ATL positions were individuals I have worked with closely. In the end, we hired one of them and passed on the other. It was easy to make the hiring decision but it was not easy to say no to the other. And even though I have had many disagreements and differences with the one we did not hire, I am still feeling emotionally unhinged.
Y., who we did not hire, has the hunger and desire for an ATL position. He has interviewed for many other ATL positions throughout the company but has always been turned down. Before he interviewed, he admitted to me that he has always had a bad time in interviews. He has sought help from others but has never sought professional help. Y. is the type of person who believes he can be a leader. He thinks that he is destined to become one. He talks of ideas and plans that he has if he ever became a leader. Unfortunately, he can never give specifics on these ideas and plans. He can never give reasons to why he does things; his excuse is "because I thought it would work." He does things that are obviously and painfully stupid. He does things that any other person would do but thinks that he is being original. He has no foresight, no appreciation, and, on top of it all, he has no trust in others.
I was asked to sit in on the interviews, even though I had originally declined. So, I sat in and looked at the list of applicants and kept my mind as open as I could. In my heart, I wanted Y. to say a couple of things that would make me feel comfortable giving him one of the ATL positions. In my heart, I wanted to give Y. the position. If he only answered the questions with a scripted blandness, I would have been comfortable giving him one of the positions. If only he gave me two or three ideas that I think could be useful in improving our team. If only he did not put blame on others for his past. If only.
As we voted for who we wanted, Y. polluted my thoughts. Should I just vote for him? Well, then I would have to justify and argue for him. Maybe if I didn't say a word, he would just slip in. Part of me, a big part of me, wanted to just give him the job. That way, if down the line he could not deliver, I could say "I told you so". But there was also a big part of me who has been down the line and I didn't... no, couldn't go back down the line. But maybe if he got the job, he would change his less-than-poor ways of working. But maybe he wouldn't.
To say that I struggled while voting would be an understatement. In the end, I couldn't vote for him at all. Some did. He actually came in third. I didn't vote for the second place person. I gave my reasons and he was not extended an offer. When the discussion turned to Y., I was first to comment. I told the group that as much as I had differences with Y. and as much as I wanted to him to have the job, I could not in any way say that he deserved the job. After I was seconded, we decided to only fill one of the ATL positions and repost the job in six weeks.
I left drained. The worst part of it all was that I had to close the store. Thank god the group working for me that night was excellent. They were rewarded appropriately. But during the night, they all individually came up to me to ask me if something was wrong. I couldn't discuss any of what happened in the interview. So, I just said that I was tired from a long process. Two of them came back to me later to tell me that they even though they don't know what decisions were made, they trusted that I would do right for the team. I thanked both of them. One more came up to me and said that although I may not know it, the reason that they worked hard even though I was not initially with them was because they always looked out for people who looked out for them. I almost broke down at that point.
My co-supervisor Greg checked up on me a couple of times. He too was in the interview. He assured me that we did the right thing. I still feel down today, 24 hours later. I have worries. I'm not worried that Y. will hate me. I just hate that I can see his burning desire to be a leader BUT I can't see his burning desire to be a leader of a grocery team. Unfortunately, desire needs to be backed by knowledge and passion in order to breed success. Otherwise, it will all just be one big disaster. I'm worried that I have dampened someones desires, hopes, and dreams. But I truly cannot just gives someone something because they want it badly. Not when I know that nothing lies behind that desire. Not when my desires, hopes, and dreams will be affected by his actions.
Okay, so I just got watched a big portion of the Spring 2006 Dolce & Gabbana menswear show. Now, male runway models. Are they told to butch it up on the runway? Even though they are dressed so well, very femininely (is that even a word)? Isn't the point of the show to "show" the clothing? Shouldn't a model walk to the end of the runway, stop, strike a pose so we can see what you are wearing, turn, and walk back down the runway? And shouldn't you smile? What happened to the smile? Or even a smirk? Or that twinkle in your eye that says "you can have me later"?
I mean, c'mon. What the fuck is up with the barely stopping when they get to the end? And for the miniscule few who did stop, it was as if they had forgotten what to do next rather than stop because they were striking a pose. Are they really that clueless?
Anyone? Male models who read my blog? Can anyone explain this?
In the past month or so, I have seriously given thought to becoming vegan. I have actually laid out a plan to change my eating habits. As it is, three out of five meals that I prepare are vegan. So, really, it would not be that far a stretch for my household to become vegan.
At first, I'll make all the meals I prepare vegetarian. Actually, that would be ovo-vegan. That would allow me to have eggs. I wouldn't have any milk-products but I have already cut that out of my diet to begin with. I occasionally indulge in cheese and ice cream. Mainly, I devour a lot of goat cheese but even that is something I would not have a problem removing from my diet. I will continue to eat meat only if I am in a situation that lends itself to doing so. For example, if I happen to be at a steak house for a dinner, I would go ahead and try a steak. Or if we happen to go to a BBQ joint, hey, BBQ it is.
As I become more entrenched in not eating meat, I would eventually eliminate eggs and meat products from my diet. I already eat a lot of vegan nuggets, veggie burgers, and meatless chicken patties. They do satisfy my craving for certain types of textures and mouth-feels. I have also tried a lot of vegan frozen treats that can help fill the void of eliminating ice cream. I am thinking that after a month of being ovo-vegan, I can delve into the vegan stage.
The only problem that I can foresee is that fact that I have this utter weakness for roast pork. Later.
"We don't hang out with other gay couples. Actually, come to think of it, we don't hang out with other gay men. At all."
This was part of a conversation that Mike and I had after returning from a picnic in Sheep's Meadow today. Despite the forecast of thunderstorms and hail, Mike and I headed out to Central Park with our friend Donna. We were meeting up with six other people to just hang out and enjoy having a day off. I packed a cheese platter, some crudite with balsamic vinaigrette dip, and a bag of sliced baguette. When the skies darkened and thunder began to sound, we packed up and headed home.
Once home, I realized that Mike and I don't really hang out with any gay couples. None of the six other people we met were homosexual. Actually, it was a hetero couple and four single hetero ladies. Actually, we barely hang out with other gay men. We have some lesbian friends but not ones that we really hang out with on a regular basis. We do have some gay male friends but, again, not ones that we really hang out with on a regular basis.
That's when I said to above quote to Mike. He asked me to name the gay couples we know. And one by one, we came up with reasons not to be around them. During dinner with Donna, we brought up this fact. She said that we really were not the type of gay men who hang out with other gay men for that mere fact.
There is a part of me that is slightly disturbed by this. Of the two gay male friends that I consider close, one has moved far away while the other has not become that close. Early on in our relationship, Mike and I had started hanging out with a couple but realized that the only thing we had in common was the fact that they were another Asian/Caucasian couple (and let me tell you that I am not your regular garden-variety Asian). Then, they adopted a kid and I had to not be part of that. The other gay couple we know is way too political. Mike and I are not into spending time with our friends at some sort of rally. Mike's single gay male friends are great but they don't really want to be hanging out with an old married couple. And the two gay couples that we actually do like live in San Francisco and Chicago. Not so convenient.
I certainly don't want to force a friendship just because I think we don't have any friends who are a gay couple. I'm not sure why we have never really gotten close to other gay couples. I'm not even sure why this is bothering me. We're certainly both fine with each of us hanging out with our gay male friends individually and together. We have tons of female friends. I don't know. I can't explain it but I think I need to know why. Later.