Author Archives: theotherjulie

Mistgakes? I’ve made a few.

It’s been not-quite-one-year since I took a new job with the same company. In that not-quite-a-year I’ve learned, essentially, one single lesson:

I don’t know anything.

New ways of doing old things, the proper ways to submit Official Stuff, Who is in charge of Whatever, how to get ahold of that Who… not to mention my newly-broadened vocabulary, which includes several dozen new acronyms that I sprinkle sans abandon into my everyday speech.

I went ’round and ’round with several people today, in an attempt to “fix” a problem that – erm, turns out – was of my own doing. After realizing my error, I unleashed a barrage of “Thank you for your patience while I learn this process” emails. Somewhere along the way, I read that this is a mentally healthier than simply saying “sorry I fucked up” over and over and over, and “mentally healthier” is one of my top priorities as I navigate some of these finer points of my job.

Turns out, it’s really – like really-really – easy to get caught up in the argh I don’t know what I’m doings and I’ll never get any of this right the first times. Ironic, considering that these are statements that, when spoken by anyone other than myself, I’m able to easily shoot down. Of course you won’t get everything right the first time. How else will you learn? Who is perfect on their first try? You’re being ridiculous.

Maybe the person I should be thanking for patience is myself.

 

 

 

*Fun fact: The misspelling in the title was completely unintentional. Then I decided to leave it.

People at the airport.

I’m quickly discovering that I could probably write a book full of Things and People I’ve Observed At Various Airports: it’s a gd oil geyser of material.* One of my favorite and most personally-respected sources of journalism agrees, as evidenced by this gem that showed up in my bookface feed today:

onion

right? Spot on, Onion.

Were I to make a list (spoiler alert: I’m making a freaking list) of other airport caricatures, I’d include the following:

  1. VERY IMPORTANT BUSINESS WORK TRAVELING PERSON.
    So. Many. Devices. We get it, dude: you have a job where you type the things into the computer. You are Quite Important. You must make phone calls about the type-y things you’re doing. These calls simply cannot wait, even if it is 6:15 am. If I look closer at your laptop screen, I am 100% sure I’ll find that you’re just Lorem Ipsum-ing through a generic Excel file. You do not need two laptops, dude. That other one is definitely for porn. Don’t confuse the two.
  2. The “carry on rules do not apply to me” over-packer.
    …the fuck, lady? Wheeled suitcase, “purse” (that’s a duffel bag, ma’am), laptop bag, travel pillow, blanket, plastic sack of drinks and snacks from Hudson News and a live lobster. And all of it will need to go in the overhead bin.
  3.  The carefree flip flopper.
    Dressed wildly inappropriately for the current climate (shorts and sandals in Denver in January). Nary a speck of luggage in sight, he will simply walk off the plane at his destination as if he simply materialized there and has been living there all his damn life.
  4. The loudspeaker.
    Every single conversation is held at max volume. Everyone from here to the shoeshine stand 7 gates down knows she loves Jennalyn and Ashton very much and she’ll be home soon, she can’t believe that the flight’s been delayed twice, and that there are so many Foreigns working at this airport. Like, all of them. But that’s totally fine. I mean, someone’s got to clean the bathrooms and sell the US Weeklies. Like, I couldn’t do it, but good for them.

 

 

 

 

*side note: I’ve been combing through my years and years of random storytelling and I’ve finally FINALLY figured out a cohesive theme under which I can collect existing tales and produce new ones into – fingers crossed – some sort of publish-able product. This is just a side note. More to come on that later, maybe.

 

notes on a [bacon] scandal

I’ve been doing a lot of traveling for work for the past few months and frankly, it makes me tired thinking about it so I haven’t even gotten around to writing about it.

Unfortunately, there are just too many quick little nuggets of weird that I’ve unearthed to not take at least a half-hearted effort to share. So here I go. I’m going to type until I get tired. Which might be soon, don’t hold yer breaths.

  • A woman eating from a quart-sized plastic baggie of hard-boiled eggs. When I think “airport snack,” I generally think “granola bar.” Not this dame. Just living her best, breakfast buffet life right there at gate C2.
  • A man loudly complaining about the lack of Pepsi products. “Everywhere around here only sells Coke. Coke is so low-class,” he snarled as I looked over and saw a Pepsi machine not 20 feet down the concourse.
  • A stand in the Denver airport selling Climax Jerky, which – I know, I know. It’s a brand name. But tell that to my brain, which lay giggling in the gutter.
  • The worker at Auntie Anne’s who asked for my order, then promptly squatted down behind the counter to look for something. I sort of peered over the counter to see if I should, like, keep talking? Because what was happening? “Go ahead!” she called up to me. “I’m listening!”
  • My very damp belongings in my checked bag. I know, right? I never really gave much thought to my suitcase not being at least kind-of waterproof. I’ll never pack important papers in there again (Luckily my work stuff was okay. With the exception of all of my Post-it note pads, which ended up in a gross, wrinkled mass in my pencil case.
  • I ate In-n-Out Burger. It was good, but my earth was not shattered. I’m not sure it was worth the 1.5 mile walk from my hotel.
  • However, the dude ahead of me in line at In-n-Out Burger paid for his double double with a 100-dollar bill. His change was something like 97 dollars.
  • I ate at the hotel restaurant for breakfast a few days in a row. Day one: as Server Assistant Bro was filling up my water, a woman on the other side of the dining room is waving her arms wildly. Server Assistant Bro and I whipped our heads around: was someone choking on their made-to-order omelet? EXCUSE ME. EXCUSE ME? SIR? OVER HERE, SIR, she shrieked. Turns out her bacon was overcooked. I know because she told him that her bacon was too crispy in the same tone of voice you’d use to tell your Cocker Spaniel to stop pissing on the ottoman.
  • If only she’d had the made-to-order omelet.
  • Last day in town: guess who busts into the restaurant and demands to speak to someone in charge! Ol’ Shrieky McWellDoneBacon! Something was remiss with her bill from… a previous day? At this point I wasn’t able to pay attention; I was too consumed with cringing and flinching each time her voice ratcheted itself up an octave of sarcasm. OH, WELL, I GUESS IT’S HARD TO ADD THINGS UP, HUH? and THIS VOUCHER SAYS FREE. WHAT DO YOU THINK FREE MEANS? DOES IT MEAN I GET CHARGED FOR JUICE AND COFFEE?
  • Few things say TURNT like Friday Night Karaoke at the Holiday Inn Bar. I fell asleep too early to witness the spectacle, but in my mind it was all I ever hoped and dreamed it would be.
  • Speaking of falling asleep early…

Amazon also recommends: a good GI doc

Hi. I’m one of those people who order many, many things from Amazon. Side note: I am also one of those who are easily guilted by Netflix documentaries that tell my brain I’m a terrible person for buying my razors in bulk over the internet and that I’m personally responsible for killing the dreams of the owner of the artisanal razory in my hometown.

There are also times when I remember that my hometown lacks a supplier of hand-crafted facial tissues and I think I’m probably not single-handedly responsible for the downfall of the maker economy.

So yeah. I’m about to place an order for some bulk toilet paper and baking soda and other household shit that 7-year-old me never in her wildest dreams imagined a credit card could ever be used for. And in placing said order, I have the option to Subscribe and Save! which is always so very tempting because I imagine myself to be some sort of thrifty, efficient shopper (spoiler: I’m not) but I’ve never committed to this because what if I’m wrong and my delivery is mis-scheduled and I end up running out or overstocked with something?

I currently get kitty litter sent to us this way on the cheapy-cheap through another company but I am CONSTANTLY amending my delivery schedule because – for example – right now we have roughly 439 lbs of it stored in various nooks and crannies of our abode because I didn’t stop the auto-deliveries in time and they just kept marching in like those buckets in Fantasia

I digress. Angrily so.

Anyway, I figured I’d try to calculate how often I order TP from the Amazons and try the Subscribe and Save! option. Among the presets from which I can choose is an “every 2 months options” which….well. Let’s math it out, shall we?

Product: one 24-pack of “mega rolls” of toilet paper (308 sheets per roll)
Delivery frequency: once every 8 weeks

Assuming that the “2 month period” equals 8 full weeks/ 56 days and that the next delivery arrives just as the previous supply is vanquished, this would mean a household is using 43% of one roll of toilet paper in one single day.

This is:
* appx. 132 sheets per day

Which, in a household of 4 toilet-using and bowel-moving humans, is:
* 33 sheets per day

Which, based on personal experience with this particular – high-quality – brand and the average number of sheets used at a time (I am not a toilet paper scrooge, tmi and btw), equals:
* Anywhere from 8 – 11 trips to the bathroom per day

Or, in my particular household of 2 toilet-using and bowel-moving humans, this equals:
* Anywhere from 16 – 22 trips to the bathroom per day

Horrified, I simply added my purchase to my cart. I’ll Subscribe and Save! another time.

 

the future of grammar.

If I’ve learned nothing else from sci-fi television, it’s that advanced civilizations do not use contractions and their grammar is often impeccable. This gives me hope for the future: will my great-granchildren live in a world without dangling participles?

Or will things continue on their current path: will my great-grandchildren never learn what a participle is?

Oh, the humanity.

heigh-ho

Last week I was in California for work which sounds way more glamorous than it was even though, overall, it was a pretty okay week. I missed my cats and my gentleman friend and my pillow and ready access to an iron that I understand how to use but! I survived.

And today I go back to real-work-work and I’m sitting here in my bathrobe wondering if there is technically anything against dress code if I remain enclothed this way.

Except if I show up in my bathrobe, I’ll just want to bring a cat. And my pillow. Call it the If-You-Give-a-Mouse-a-cookie effect.

If I was still in California, it’d be too hot to wear a bathrobe to work.

And if it sounds like I’m typing this while half-asleep, you’d be 25% right.

From Friedrich to Kelly

They say that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but when you’re in the moment how do you know that whatever it is won’t eventually kill you?

You don’t. I think you just suck it up and hope it goes the other way.

 

 

Now I have that Kelly Clarkson song stuck in my head.

 

Buncha birds in a box

Do you have a Netflixer? Have you watched their newest popular release-movie Box of Birds? In case you have not heard about it, it’s a psychiatrical horrors film about a pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey gone wrong. I’ve seen enough clips and heard enough snippets through the wall as I was trying to fall asleep – thanks, Gentleman Friend – to have a firm grasp of the plot, which I’d like to summarize for you now.

Sandra Bullock is a lady-person with long hair and visceral intensity that is emitted through powerful, invisible rays projected out of her Intimidating Yet Feminine Chin. There are also two smaller people who I believe to be children. They may or may not be important. There is also another person who I think I recognize but can’t quite place her name. Pretty sure that person dies in one of the previews I saw. Sad.

Also. John Malkovich maybe?

The name of the film comes from the fact that something in the movie references it.

Woods. Outdoors. Down coats in muted retro colors. Blindfolds – hence the pin-the-tail thing.

Travel by water? The Scary Thing might not be able to swim, I guess? Do birds swim? Ah, probably not, when they’re trapped in a box. They probably get pretty angry too. I’m beginning to understand the film more, I think.

How does it end? I wouldn’t want to ruin it for you. Or myself, really. It’s anyone’s guess. I fell asleep pretty fast last night.

Practice makes perf – where was I?

Have you tried meditation? I have a vague memory of being led through a body scan during some kind of “Finals Week Stress Relief” event as an undergrad. We were laying on the floor in the basement of the student center, maybe? I’m not 100% sure my memory is accurate.

I’d tried it off-and-on since then, and decided to give it another try a month-ish ago. So many of my pals enjoy it and reap its benefits; why not me?

If anyone tells you that meditation is easy, you have my permission to slap them across their lying mouth hole. Because it ISN’T. It’s not normally a struggle for me to focus my attention in everyday life. But to intentionally focus on focusing on something throws my brain hilariously off-kilter. Focus on the breath, they say. If your mind wanders, no big deal! Just gently corral your focus back to the breath. But don’t, like, focus too hard on the breath. Don’t hyperventilate yourself. Not that I’ve felt like I was doing that before or anything, of course. Er.

Count your breaths, then they suggest. So I do, until eventually – OH MY GOSH I GOT IT! I’M MEDITATING! I’M REALLY DOING IT! I’M NOT FOCUSING ON ANYTHING!

On a related note, I now have a foolproof method for falling asleep.

In all seriousness, though, my point is this: I’m just-now realizing that meditation practice truly is just that: practice of training one’s mind. It’s no different (in theory) than training one’s body. It requires dedication and focus, and the results – I’m told, at least – are incredibly rewarding.

Maybe one day I’ll report back here that I meditate 3 hours a day now and my mind is one giant freaking Zen garden. Until then, my goal is to go 10   5  3 minutes while still being able to lead my mind out of its constant maze of song lyrics, to-do lists and Important Questions (namely: how long does it take a pummelo to rot and how long has it been sitting outside the window like that?).

 

 

 

 

 

A proposal for 2019.

I was making the bed yesterday – it’s nice, you should try it sometime – and an unexpectedly contemplative thought fluttered through my brain.

So you know how on television, in movies, in books – you know how when someone is struggling internally with something? Like a Big Decision or Big Secret or Big Problem? And us as the viewer/reader/observer – we know what’s up and we’re all captivated (sometimes) and thinking “Oh, how will this Big Decision / Secret / Problem be resolved? How will it unexpectedly burst forth from this protagonist in a fountain of mental garbage?

Depending on the intention of that character’s creator, we look forward to or dread this emotional volcano (side note: I’ve found my tastes lately lean more toward the “too real it makes me cringe” level of entertainment. Anyone else? I haven’t put forth the effort to explore why that is but I bet that’ll be a fun adventure).

But sometimes – a mitigating factor is introduced. Another character picks up on the cues given off by the one experiencing the Big Decision / Secret / Problem. Those cues can be Super Obvious: Hernando hasn’t bathed himself in a week and he appears to be sweating vodka, maybe something is wrong or Not So Obvious: Lillian didn’t remember to put the cap back on that pen. Something is definitely wrong.

And we, viewer/reader/observer, nod our head. Yes, how perceptive of that friend to notice the other’s struggle. I, too, would have arrived at similar conclusions after seeing that pen drying up on the table.

But, like, would you? These made-up personas possess sometimes superhuman powers of observation and empathy, and the Hernandos IRL aren’t necessarily openly Leaving Las Vegasing themselves.

This is a drawn-out way for me to say that we should all check in on our people, whether we think they “need” it or not. I know, I know. You’ve heard this a hundred times. I’d heard it too. But it wasn’t 115% clear to me until that analogy materialized in my brain because it’s drilled into us – and this is WHETHER YOU ACTUALLY BELIEVE IT OR NOT, the stereotype exists – that people who need help will eventually reach a point where they’ll ask for it or that there exist enough perceptive others to notice something is off and confront it head-on.

Happy New Year, y’all! And if you’re the type to resolute things on this arbitrary calendar day, here’s a quick and easy and rewarding one: Ask your people how they are, and mean it, and listen to their response, and probe if you have to, and make sure it’s ABSOLUTELY clear – both in your word and deed – that you care about and love and treasure the ever-living fuck out of them.

May 2019 be a year marked by compassion and a satisfying, yet moderate amount of cheese-flavored snacks.