Monday, May 18, 2009

Tim Gunn Can Never Hide Right

Right before I went to bed last night, I watched a true crime show about a rather gruesome murder. It was apparently a bad idea, because I then spent the dark hours of the night having bad dreams. However, in the middle of one of these dreams, something rather funny happened and I felt the need to share it.

In my dream, I was a young man who was part of some kind of resistance group. My whole family had been wiped out except for me and my sister. My sister was the leader of the resistance group. We were at hour headquarters when the enemy captured us. They were trying to get information out of my sister, and when she wouldn't comply, a hail of bullets began to fly. I escaped through a secret hatch with another member of the resistance.

We found ourselves running through the back areas of a grocery store. We were in a walk-in cooler and were about to reach our final door to escape when someone began to come into the cooler.

Suddenly, my companion in this escape was style guru Tim Gunn. As I hid behind the opening door, I shouted to Tim Gunn to hide as well. Instead of finding a place to hide, he froze where he stood like a statue. I thought to myself, "Tim Gunn can never hide right!" Hahaha. That was the best part of the dream. Like I go around trying to hide with Tim Gunn all the time. "Tim Gunn can never hide right!"

Fortunately, the people who happened to come into the cooler were Stacey and Clinton from TLC's "What Not to Wear." They were delighted to see Tim Gunn, a fellow stylist, in there. They began to chatter excitedly. Then I woke up.

It was the best dream ending ever.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Musings on Religious Conflict

The other day, I heard U2's "Sunday Bloody Sunday" on the radio, a song about the Protestant/Catholic conflict still occurring in Ireland at that time. It suddenly struck me how odd it is that I have lived through times when there is still armed, bloody conflict going on between two factions of the same faith. I mean, when you really think about it, it's absolutely insane.

Religious belief is something that is so deeply personal, and so fundamentally based on faith, that it still dumbfounds me that anyone would argue over it, let alone kill each other. In my opinion, if you are fully confident in your convictions, what someone else has to say about them can't possibly touch you. A lot of my atheist friends have told me that they're "afraid" to tell people that they're atheists because their beliefs will be attacked. I think to myself, so what? Defend if you feel you must, but what's the point? Their opinion should have no influence on you.

As a very committed agnostic, I have been attacked by both sides. The standard attacks come from religious believers. I just shrug my shoulders. They're entitled to their opinion. The atheists have often told me that I'm an agnostic because I'm not "brave enough" to be an atheist. This amuses me. How can it possibly be cowardly to admit that you don't know the answers? The great irony is that believers and non-believers are more alike than they think; both take great comfort in the fact that they know the truth, even though the truth is unknowable at this time.

It makes me sad that it's nearly impossible to talk about religion with a large, diverse group of individuals without insults being hurled. I love religion and I love to talk about it. I'm fascinated by peoples' beliefs, and I'm not easily shocked or offended by them. Religion was my field of study in both undergraduate and graduate school. I've pretty much heard it all already, and have learned to keep an open mind (within reason, of course. I don't condone underaged girls getting married to men 3 times their age, or human sacrifice, for example).

But most discussions are ruined by people who just can't be content with letting others believe what they want to believe. I wonder if tearing others down is an inherent part of being a human being, or if it is learned behavior. Whatever it is, I wish we'd all grow up a little bit and just learn to share the world without being so judgmental and self-righteous.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Personal Pet Peeve: Rudeness

The other day at work, we received a fax that was meant for somebody else. This has been a fairly common occurrence in my working life, and I always try to be polite and call the sender to let them know that their fax had gone astray. It just seems like the right thing to do.

So I call up the sender. I identify myself and where I'm caling from. Click. She hangs up on me. Now, I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, so I told myself she disconnected me by accident, although I don't really believe that. So I call her back. I re-identify myself. She doesn't apologize that we were disconnected. I explain to her that her fax came to us by mistake. Before I can explain which fax it is (in case she sends many) or what her mistake was (one digit off on the number), she says, "Okay, thanks," and hangs up.

I found myself irked by her rudeness for much of the rest of the morning. Later in the day, when I received the same fax twice - erroneously once again - from a different organization, I never called them up to tell them.

It reminded me of an incident that happened last week. Our subsitute mailman brought back a packet that I had sent. Before I go further, two things: 1. According to my scale, the packet weighed under 13 oz. and 2. I was unaware that you have to take envelopes over 13 oz. into the post office; you can't put them in mailboxes.

So, this mailman - not our regular - brings me back this packet because, he says, it's over 13 oz. Then he says to me, "I guess you tried to sneak it in, but we do weigh the packets at the station." I was so stunned that I could hardly speak. I mean, really, does he think I had some grand conspiracy to cheat the post office out of 17 cents? Give me a freaking break. What on earth possessed him to say something like that?

I was steamed about his comment for much of the day. By the way, I took that packet in to the post office and was told by the lady at the counter that it was not, in fact, over 13 oz. However, she said, since it wasn't "flexible" (it contained several manila folders), I had to send it at the "parcel" rate. Whatever. That's a new one to me. I've sent "non-flexible" packets in the mail at non-parcel rates before. So they got their extra 17 cents after all. Exactly who is attempting to cheat whom?

I know that I let these incidents get to me far more than I should. But there's something about professional rudeness that really bugs me. It just doesn't make any sense. Why be rude to people who are trying to do you a favor? Why be rude to someone that you have to see on a regular basis?

I don't understand why cooperation and consideration wouldn't be your first priorities on the job. Do most people hate their jobs that much? I hate my job, but I don't see it as an excuse to be an asshole to everyone who crosses my path. I try to be polite and professional all the time when I'm on the job, and usually in my personal life as well. I don't always succdeed, but when I do slip up, I apologize.

Sometimes I feel like I don't even belong in this world. I feel like I have all of these ideals and standards that other people just don't seem to share. I don't even know where these ideals came from. I don't think my parents modeled them for me. It's like I came into this world this way. I've felt this way about myself for most of my life. I used to think that it was teenaged angst, but now I'm not so sure.