Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, part 4

Situation 1

I was having lunch at the food court in a shopping mall a couple weeks ago. I was sitting at a table enjoying my lunch and engrossed in my book. All of a sudden, I heard a voice saying, "What kind of soup is that?" From the volume and proximity of the voice, I got the feeling the person was talking to me, so I looked up and in the direction of where the voice was coming from. Sure enough, a guy was looking at me, presumably expecting an answer. OK, I get if you see someone having something that interests you, and you'd like to know what it is and where they got it. I've had that happen before. However, I would think it would generally be customary and polite to get the person's attention with "Excuse me" or "I'm sorry to bother you" before launching into your question instead of simply barking out the question. Lots of responses came to my mind, but I managed to squelch them all down and respond simply with "noodles". The guy repeated my word, nodded knowingly and left.

Situation 2

As probably happens in a lot of other work places, our department periodically collects money for various people for various reasons - wedding shower, baby shower, going-away present, that sort of thing. Generally, an email goes out with what the collection is for and who to give money to if you want to contribute and what the deadline is. There's no pressure to give or repercussions if you don't. No announcements are made about who gives and who doesn't - if you want to give, fine, and if not, that's fine too. The only person who would really know is the person collecting. If it's been someone I know well, I've generally given a little more. If it's someone I know and have any kind of relationship with, I usually give a small amount. On the occasions when the collection has been for someone I didn't know or didn't like, I haven't contributed. No big deal regardless.

There is a person in my department who for whatever reason feels the need to contribute to these things in spare change. And I don't mean like a roll of quarters or dimes or anything, which I would still find odd. No, this person basically brings handfuls of random change that don't even add up to a round dollar amount. When this kind of thing happens with a small child, it's cute because the child just wants to be able to contribute. But when it comes to an adult in a work environment? Ummm, ok. If it's a question of being short on funds, it's fine not to contribute. Or maybe you want to just contribute a little - so just give a $5 bill or a couple of $1 bills. But handfuls of loose change? Now, I could see someone doing this as a joke, to be funny, whatever. In this case, the general consensus is that it's not meant as a deliberate joke or to elicit humour.

Situation 3

I was at a Subway (the sandwich shop, not the underground transportation thing) a week or so ago, and I was the only customer in the shop, and there was only one person making sandwiches. And no, it wasn't Arthur Dent. I had given her my order, and she was in the process of putting the meat and cheese on the bread when another customer walked in. The other customer proceeded to immediately give his order to the girl who was helping me. I kind of stared at him. The girl had moved to the vegetables and asked me if I wanted lettuce. The guy, who hadn't been looking at her, answered her instead and said yes, but then he apparently looked up and told her that the sandwich she had in front of her wasn't his. I turned to him and said, yeah, that's mine, I'm standing right here. He muttered something about just telling the girl ahead of time what he wanted but really didn't have much of an explanation otherwise and proceeded to ignore both of us and just walked around the shop. She continued to help me, and then someone in the back came out to help him, so he gave the other girl his order. Was he thinking that the girl helping me was just going to drop my order and start helping him? Or that she was supposed to remember everything he was telling her so that once she was done with me, she could just make his sandwich right away without him having to say a word? Am I invisible?

Situation 4

Someone was telling me about something they'd read on the net the other day and started to discuss with me what had been written. I just stared at the person. And then I pointed out that where the person had read it was ON THIS BLOG.

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