Archive | January, 2010

How Does Anybody Ever Figure It Out…?

29 Jan

Hey world. Wassup?

I’m feeling melancholy today. Some days, I really get down on myself over my sucky, minimum-wage paying job. I like to think I’m a fairly intelligent person, so I wonder sometimes how I got to be this close to 30 and still have no idea what it is that I want to do with my life. Sure, I’ve toyed with different ideas (the most recent being to go to teacher’s college and become a high school English and Social Sciences teacher), but nothing ever feels totally right. And having it not feel right makes me skeptical about investing time and money in pursuing it. What if I get there and it’s awful? Worse, what if I get there, and I’m not cut out for it?

It makes me wonder how anyone finds a job, ever. I know a handful of people in my situation, pushing 30 and no career to speak of yet, but I wouldn’t say it’s the norm. Everybody else just seems so… established. Regular hours, benefits, weekends off… why am I not there yet? What am I doing wrong?

Part of it is just not really knowing where to begin. My C.V. is a mess. I’m not even certain what my particular skill set is, never mind what I could be doing to improve upon it and make myself a generally more impressive human being. And how does a person go about applying for a real, grown-up job anyway? How do you figure out who’s even hiring? I’ve heard of the “hidden job market” but where the hell is it hiding and with so many people out of work right now, why won’t it just come out and show itself?? If you do somehow manage to tap into this hidden market, how do you apply? Surely you don’t just march into an office building and ask if a manager’s on duty. And even if you did, how would you go about deciding if they’re the sort of people you really want to work for in the first place? And why am I the only one who finds this all so confusing??

Maybe I should just auction off my future on Ebay. Highest bidder gets to determine the course of my life… where I’ll live, what education I’ll receive, what sort of job-seeing techniques I will utilize… but in the meantime, if anybody reading this has managed to figure it all out, please, let me know what you did and how you did it!

Team CoCo

26 Jan

Well, I watched Conan O’Brien’s farewell speech last night (we don’t have cable so I had to rely on YouTube), and now I find myself missing his presence on tv, in spite of the fact that for the past couple of years, I was never able to tune in to begin with. I was wondering why that is, how I can find myself longing for a show that I was unable to watch in the first place, and I realized it’s because I basically spent my adolescence with Conan. I started watching his show before anyone else that I knew. I had a mad crush on him when I was something like 12 or 13. Conan O’Brien and Jon Stewart. If memory serves, Late Night followed The Jon Stewart Show (or perhaps it was the other way around), and I always stayed up to watch them both. I was always proud of the fact that they both got as big as they eventually did, because I am never ahead of the curve. On anything. Ever. But I was with Jon Stewart, and I was with Conan O’Brien.

I think Conan O’Brien is largely responsible for my sense of humour being what it is today. I don’t think anybody would accuse me of having been a “funny” child. I didn’t develop a sense of humour until I started watching Late Night. It was just such a twisted show. I always loved the bit with the devil and the bear on the shoulder… no, not the masturbating bear, although I’m sure it’s the same costume, recycled. The bit I’m talking about is the one where Conan would find himself faced with some sort of ethical dilemma, and his conscience took the form of a devil on one shoulder and a bear on the other. “Helloooooooo! I am your bear.”

It’s interesting, the things we find funny. I’m sitting here puzzled, trying to figure out if I just never found anything funny before I stumbled across Conan’s show, or if I personally just wasn’t funny (and thus couldn’t appreciate humour) until Late Night taught me how to be.

One thing I did know from the moment I heard Conan was inheriting the Tonight Show, though… I didn’t think he was going to do very well. I know that sounds terrible but let me explain why. The pre-existing Tonight Show audience likes Jay Leno. Has anybody remotely interesting cared about Jay Leno since he stole The Tonight Show from Letterman all those years ago? No. And Conan’s pre-existing audience, well, they came from Late Night, which again, was really twisted. Since I’m too young to be familiar with Carson’s Tonight Show, all I’ve ever known is Leno’s… and quite frankly, I always found it really boring and bland. He almost seemed to be too afraid of offending anybody to really let go and be funny. Let’s face it, Jay Leno is at his funniest when he’s reading misprinted newspaper headlines. John Tesh could be funny reading misprinted newspaper headlines. So I’ve just always thought of The Tonight Show as being a bit boring, dull, palatable as something to have on in the background while you brush your teeth before bed. Something to watch before Late Night.

I knew from the start that Conan’s creativity would be stifled on The Tonight Show, and from the few episodes that I did manage to catch, I feel that I was proven right. It just seemed like he could never really let go on The Tonight Show the way he did on Late Night. He seemed uncomfortable, and in turn, it was at times uncomfortable to watch. Maybe he settled in as time went on; I never got a chance to see. Personally though, I think that his leaving The Tonight Show is something of a blessing in disguise. I’d have loved to see Jay Leno step down like a gentleman and let Conan keep what he was promised, and would have loved to see NBC loosen the reins a little bit and really let Conan do things his way, but that didn’t happen. So now, ideally, I’d like to see him move to a network that isn’t so mainstream and oppressive, so he can let his freak flag fly again.

Want to know my utopian Conan O’Brien dream scenario? David Letterman retires, passing The Late Show to Conan and letting him go head to head against Leno on a major network. It… would be………….. amazing.

And p.s., I kind of still have a crush on him.

The Things I Would Save In A Fire

25 Jan

Have you ever had that icebreaker conversation where you discuss with someone what you would save in a fire? It’s sort of like the desert island question, but a little more realistic, because fires happen every day, but people rarely become stranded on desert islands. Well…

My and Steve’s birth certificates.
My grandmother’s ring.
My expired passport (???)
My rabbit.
My laptop.
And whatever else is floating around in my purse.

Apparently that’s my list.

How did I arrive at this conclusion? Glad you asked!

I had kind of a rough weekend. Stupid stuff happening at work; nothing major, really, but enough to stress me out. So I’m sitting here on my bed, reading a book, fretting over things, trying to relax. I hear some sirens outside and wonder if I’ve left the window open a crack, as they seem awfully loud, and come to think of it, it’s a bit cold in here. I snuggle deeper into the blankets and figure I’ll double check it the next time I get up for a drink or a snack or a hug from Steve. A car alarm starts sounding and keeps sounding for a longer than reasonable amount of time. “Your car’s being stolen!” I shout at nobody in particular. More sirens. I think to myself that no matter how sucky my weekend was, I can take comfort in the fact that at least I’m better off than whoever is in need of all those emergency vehicles.

It’s only when a fireman knocks on our door and asks to come look on our balcony that I realize, I am the person in need of all those emergency vehicles.

Apparently the balcony of the unit immediately below ours was on fire. I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I’m deathly afraid of fire. So afraid that it prevents me from cooking lest I set the oven ablaze. Naturally, I freak out. The fireman tells us that everything’s under control and we should just stay put until we hear instructions to the contrary. Yeah, okay, except no, I don’t intend to stay put when the unit immediately below mine is burning away. I don’t care how small the fire is, and I don’t care how many firemen are on the job. Thus, I called my mother and began to hastily gather my things.

I sent Steve out to find a fireman and ask if it was okay for us to exit through the stairwell, because as much as I wanted to leave, I also didn’t want to impede their progress in, y’know, saving our home. I barely had time to change out of my pajama pants and into a pair of jeans before Steve came back with the news that the fire was already out. So… good. No harm, no foul.

It’s kind of funny because our apartment is a real mess. We’ve always thought of it as a very temporary living situation. I’ve hated the neighbourhood and rather hated the building itself from the get go… the reason we ever moved in in the first place is because the rent is relatively low. We’ve always pictured ourselves staying here for the year for which we are contractually obligated, and then moving on. So we never really bothered getting things organized. But now I’m realizing that appearances aside, we’ve got to get things organized simply so we can find what we need when we really need it. I have to wonder, had this place gone up in smoke, how many important things would we have lost tonight?

At least I can rest easy knowing I would have had my expired passport with me.

Seriously, who grabs that in an emergency??

Now Entering My 29th Year…

19 Jan

I’m 28 today!

I think that means I’m supposed to be a grown up. I’m supposed to be thinking about mortgages and paying into an rrsp fund and what not. I’m supposed to be embarking upon my career. I’m not supposed to be flitting about from hobby to hobby or subsisting on a diet based of mainly candy.

And yet, here we are.

People tend to think I’m a lot younger than I am. Sometimes I worry about that (“oh god what if I’m too immature to ever hold down a real job?”) but more often than not, I appreciate it. It makes me feel like my brain isn’t aging as quickly as my body, and that sounds like a good deal to me. Grown ups are boring. Steve and I went to this wedding once, and the reception was held looooooong after the ceremony, so a bunch of us went out to lunch. Everybody there was about my age but they just all seemed so dull, talking about investments, not seeming too terribly excited or enthusiastic about anything… if that’s what it means to be a grown up, and if that’s what I’m supposed to be now that I’ve taken 28 spins around the sun, well, thanks, but I reject the offer.

In any event, this has been the best birthday of my life. Sunday was fantastic, what with Steve cooking up a delicious feast and me being showered with wonderful presents and all. Monday was fun too, because my shift at work got knocked down by an hour and a half, so I got to have a nice relaxing morning, and then at work I was treated to a London Fog and given gifts of candy and chocolate biscuits. Which brings us to today. I opened Steve’s presents at midnight (he got me a Graham tartan scarf and the remaining Scott Pilgrim books that were not already in my collection) and then slept in ’til around noon. At one, my mom took me out and got me even more wonderful things (two sweaters, a purse, a wallet, a bunch of wool for knitting, a rotary cutter to help me with my sewing, and a lilac scented candle; I bought myself a black skirt and an infinity scarf). And tomorrow, Steve is going to come downtown with me and I’m going to spend a very generous gift card from my parents.

I hope I never become the sort of person who hates their birthday. I love birthdays, mine and other people’s. Who cares if your body is getting older? You’re free to have a child-like mindset for as long as you live.

What’s In A Name?

19 Jan

Okay, hands up, who else out there has a hard time committing to a blog/website/twitter account/whathaveyou if you don’t really like the username you picked?

I’ve had a tumblr account for the longest time. I don’t update it. Ever. I actively ignore it, in fact. Because I created it late at night, and I picked the only name which came to mind at the time, which was, weirdly, pink elephants on parade. Eeeeeeyeah.

Well, now, inspired by my current ensemble, I was motivated to change the name of my tumblr (bless them for making it so very, very easy). So, I intend to use my tumblr account more frequently from this point forward, and you, my dear readers, can now hold me accountable for that, because I am about to reveal where it is that you can find me…

snuggieparty.tumblr.com

That is all.

New Favourite Customer Service Experience.

19 Jan

One time, I was shopping in Zellers for windshield washer fluid. I searched the automotive section high and low to no avail. I accepted my own incompetence and approached a nearby employee for help.

“Excuse me,” I said. “Do you have any windshield washer fluid?”
“Like Windex?”
“Um… no. It’s for your car…”
“Ohhhhh, like Armor All?”
*shoots employee baffled look* “No. The blue stuff?”
“OHHHHHHHHH! Windshield washer fluid!”

I looked squarely at him and made that face that looks like this o_O Yeah, the one you normally do behind peoples’ backs. I felt no shame. He deserved it.

For the longest time, that was my favourite customer service story of all time. As of today, I have a new favourite.

My in-laws gave me a $50 gift certificate to Aldo so that I could buy some new shoes for work, as the soles were quite literally peeling off my old ones (they were probably trying to run away from the smell. What?). So, on my break, I decide to go make use of my gift card. I poke around in Aldo for a bit; nobody acknowledges my presence. After a few minutes, I settle on a pair of sequined flats with bows on the toes, because they remind me of Michael Jackson. I pick up the demo shoe and approach the salesman…

“Hey, do you guys have these in a size 9?”
“I can check for you.”

He flips the shoe over and exclaims that in fact, this very shoe is a size 9! I reply to him, “Good, that bodes well.” He asks if I’d like him to go find the other shoe. I consider saying “No, I’ll just buy the one,” but reconsider because I’m not sure he’ll understand that I’m joking. So off he goes to the back room to look for, I presume, a pair of size 9’s.

No.

He quite literally meant he would go find me the other shoe. The mate to the shoe that’s been sitting out on the shelf, gathering dust and being manhandled, with a price sticker stapled to its sole.

Fine, whatever, the demo shoe is in good enough condition and I don’t really care about the state of the sole (it’s not like it won’t get all scuffed up the very first time I wear them anyway), so I plop them down on the floor and try them on. Great. Perfect. I’ll take ’em. Where the hell is the salesguy?

I wait for a few minutes. It’s getting to the point where I’m wondering what would be less embarrassing, to just give it up and walk away, or to walk away with the shoes in hand to see if he even notices. Eventually Skippy returns and asks me if I’d like to buy them. I’m wondering if the fact that I’m standing at the cash with my wallet out is what tipped him off to that possibility. I say yes, I’d like to buy the shoes.

He tells me to hang on a sec.

Then he disappears into the back room again.

Then I hear the music change as he is clearly shuffling through songs on the store’s ipod. He settles on “Stellar” by Incubus (???) and reappears before me to sell me my shoes. They ring up at $50.85. I tell him I will need to break a 20 to give him the change. He says no problem. He opens the cash drawer. “Oh…,” he says.

Then he says, “Do you have any change?”

I have never wanted to punch somebody more than I have wanted to punch this man in this moment. I say “LET ME CHECK” in the tone of voice that matches those capital letters, and I plonk my giant red potato sack of a handbag down on the countertop and rifle through in hopes of finding change. I find nothing. “NOPE.”

“Uh, I only have 20’s and 2’s for change, so I’m going to have to give you all twonies. Is that okay?” Well it sort of has to be at this point, doesn’t it? So I say it’s fine and he hands me a stack of two dollar coins and makes a wisecrack about how I can enjoy spending them at the arcade. I tell him I’ll probably just change them down at my store because we, y’know, have tens and fives.

Birthday Haul

18 Jan

Today was Day 1 of my birthday extravaganza.

Most of my presents were gifted today, in spite of the fact that it’s not actually my birthday until the 19th. No matter, I am here to brag about what I got!

❤ A gift card for a new pair of work shoes.
❤ The new Harry Potter dvd.
❤ A pink snuggie!!!!!!!
❤ The sequel to The Hunger Games.
❤ A ridiculously generous gift card to Aritzia, a store I love but cannot afford to shop at.

I also have a gift from some of the girls at work, and the husband's gifts are forthcoming on Tuesday as well. Additionally, my mother told me there's "somewhere she wants to take me" at 1 p.m. on the 19th. So… that's cryptic.

Best unbirthday ever.

Today Is Awesome Because Of Belly Laughs.

13 Jan

It would appear that my husband fixed himself some raisins and peanuts to snack upon before heading off to work today. I know this because there are raisins and peanuts strewn across the floor. It was only upon seeing them that I remembered, he warned me about them before he left, saying he spilled them but had no time to clean them up. I was too tired to care. He leaves for work very, very early in the morning.

Just now, he texted me the following message: Sorry about the floor raisins. Now, that’s kind of a funny way of phrasing it, so I turned to Twitter and informed the twittersphere of the giggle-inducing text.

Within minutes, two people texted me the following message: Sorry about the floor raisins.

My stomach now aches from laughing so hard, which is a sensation I’ve not felt for awhile. Therefore, today is awesome.

Bizarre Drink Craving.

11 Jan

Sometimes I get a craving for a drink I’m certain I’ve never consumed, as I’m certain it does not actually exist.

What I am craving is something cold and moderately fizzy, but not in a fizzy-cola sort of way… more in a sparkling water or champagne sort of way. It’s sweet but not too fruity or sugary. I imagine it’s something akin to cream soda, but it’s not cream soda.

If I can, whenever this craving strikes, I’ll drink a peach iced tea or, more ideally, a Shirley Temple. Although a peach iced tea tastes nothing like a Shirley Temple and vice versa, somehow these two beverages manage to satisfy the mystery craving, though neither one fulfills it, if you get the distinction.

Does the drink I’m craving exist? Am I just hormonal? Crazy? What gives??

Lesson: The Angrier You Are, The More Ridiculous You Look

10 Jan

When you work in retail, you sometimes encounter the rare bird that is the Very Angry Customer. We encountered such a person today.

This woman pitched a fit because we could not give her ten dollars off her purchase. Keep in mind, she had the entire month of December to come in and claim the $10 savings, she just happened to miss the boat. But of course, she reacted as if this was something that the store was doing to her, as if it was some sort of personal attack. This is something I notice a lot, to tell you the truth… people on the defensive for no apparent reason, acting like everyone and everything in the world is out to get them and not accepting any sort of personal responsibility regarding the things that happen in their lives… but that’s an altogether different matter to ponder. I could go on and on about taking a sense of ownership over the events in your life and how powerless it renders you to go around constantly blaming others for your misfortunes. Instead, I’d rather pose one simple question: Do these people not realize how ridiculous they look?

I will admit, I am prone to the odd hissy fit myself. That said… I tend to reserve them for when I’m, y’know, in private. I can understand being frustrated with something… $180 ticket, anyone?… but what do people think they’re achieving by raising their voices or making idle threats of the I-will-never-shop-here-again variety? You know what I did when I freaked out over that ticket? I pitched the biggest fit of my life at home in front of nobody save for my husband, immediately felt embarrassed about pitching a fit in front of my husband, wrote an angry blog post, sent a few bitter tweets out into the universe, and then went to the courthouse and paid the fine. Yeah, I got angry and sure, I vented… but hopefully not in a publicly humiliating way. Hopefully. And life goes on.

Just for the record, you know what happens when customers get unreasonably angry with us for things that are beyond our control? I mean, besides the fact that we are less likely to go the extra mile for them by putting them in touch with a manager and so on and so forth?

We laugh at them when they leave.

Because they look so, so ridiculous.

It’s just something to keep in mind the next time you feel your blood beginning to boil the next time you’re out in public. Nobody thinks you’re particularly intelligent, and everybody thinks you’re a jerk. You’ll affect your own health adversely, and you probably still won’t get what you want.

Oh, and just regarding the I-will-never-shop-here-again threat… odds are good that none of the sales associates care (in fact if you’re that self-important, they’re probably happy to see you go), and they will all take home the same paycheque regardless of whether you shop there again or not. One person does not a boycott make. Especially if it’s a particularly well-established company; for every one customer that stops buying the goods, three more new people become “brand loyal.” Again, when you take the time to think through the words that are coming out of your mouth… I WILL NEVER SHOP HERE AGAIN!… well, it sounds kind of silly, doesn’t it?