Thursday, August 30, 2007

Good Karma/Bad Karma & Is there such a thing as ePhermones?

Good Karma/Bad Karma

The other day I rented a Philly Car Share minivan (please refrain from Soccer Mom jokes, it was the only thing available) and I found a digital camera in the console. So after I checked it out and snooped the pictures I called Philly Care Share and told them I found it. They asked me if I wanted to bring it by the office. Mama didn’t raise no fool, I said “why don’t you take my mobile number and have them call me”. I knew exactly what would happen if I gave that to the office - it would disappear into the pocket of some non-profit flunky. And so I waited. My husband on the other hand looked up it’s retail value and started making plans for his new digital camera. Two weeks go by, no call. He’s talking about ordering chargers, cables and downloading software. I keep waiting…"no honey, it's not your camera. Please don’t delete their pictures”…

Last night I took a cab, paid the driver and went home to do what I do best – nothing. I hear my blackberry buzzing away in the corner, I ignore it. Buzz, buzz, buzz…. What on earth is going on over there? Missed call number three. Check the voicemail. “Hi this is Citibank, we have a report that your wallet was found and we’re cancelling your cards, blah, blah, blah”. What? I just paid the cab driver. Call waiting starts beeping. My hand is groping in the blackhole that is my purse. Hmmm, no wallet. Answer the call waiting,

Guy: “Hi this is Bill, missing something?”
Me: “Why yes, apparently I am. Do you have it?”
Guy: “No, but you apparently had my business card so they called me to find you. We must have met and I gave you my business card. I have the lady’s number who has your wallet.”

Boy am I glad I met that guy at happy hour.

So I call the nice lady who offers to drive my wallet over to me. I insist on not putting her out, she insists since she's driving around. She’s nice but like I said, Mama didn’t raise no dummy. I immediately go online and transfer all my cash to the account that is not accessible by ATM or check card. I check my credit cards, no weird charges for stereo equipment or sneakers at the Footlocker. I’m feeling good.

We meet, I immediately pull out the cash and hand it to her. I think it was about $50. She and her friend looked at each other - you know they were taking bets on whether or not I was going to give it to her. She does the half hearted, “oh you don’t have to do that”. I insist, she is visibly pleased. I ask for her address to send her a thank you, she says I’ve given her more than enough already. Who am I to argue.

This morning my phone rings.

Camera Lady: “Hi, I understand you found my digital camera”
Me: “Why yes I did”
Camera Lady: “Thanks so much for hanging onto it, I doubt I would have gotten it back otherwise”
Me: “Yep, that’s why I held onto it”
Camera Lady: “Thank you so much, there are really important pictures on there”
(Huh? It’s a bunch of people in human gyroscopes - note to self: weirdo)

I don’t expect anything for my trouble since few people have manners these days. I will consider the good karma bestowed upon me repayment enough. I got my wallet back, I don’t have to go the DMV, all is right in the world.

Is there such a thing as ePheromones?

pher·o·mone (fěr'ə-mōn') n. A chemical secreted by an animal, especially an insect, that influences the behavior or development of others of the same species, often functioning as an attractant of the opposite sex.

We have eMail, eStores, eDiets, eFiling but is there such a thing as ePheromones? Is it possible to send off electronic vibes that say “Hey, I’m feeling frisky today”? Perhaps it’s the full moon. (yes, I checked 95% full) Either way there was something up today.

I’ve always had this uncanny ability to say things that make total sense at the time but as soon as it's out of my mouth I realize that it was totally a double entendre.

10:02 AM: I was late for a three person conference call; stuck on the phone with a talker. So I sent a courtesy email:

To: Coworker #1
From: Me
Subject: I’m coming
Stuck on phone, start without me.

I arrive a few moments later. I start giving an update about some project nonsense. Microsoft’s handy little email preview pops up in the lower right hand corner of the screen.

To: Me
From Coworker #1
Subject: Re: I’m coming
Please don’t hold up our calls for personal gratification in the future

I laugh, out loud. I can’t help it. Realizing that the other person on the call has no idea why I’m laughing in the middle of my update I try to explain.

“I’m sorry, I’m not very good about being quiet” ewwww, I just did it again. I am totally digging my own hole. “I just got a funny email”. OMG Help…I sound like a total idiot.

To: Coworker #1
From: Me
Subject: re: I’m coming
And what I meant by "I'm not good at being quiet" was that I have a habit of laughing out loud on calls when people send me funny emails. NOT what you were likely thinking. Cut it out.


To: Me
From: Coworker #1
Subject: Re: I’m coming
Definitely thinking, not just likely . . .

Single incident right? Wrong. Fast forward three hours. I join a call.

“Hi, this is Me. Blah, blah, blah”. Put the phone on mute for what will surely be another hour of painful discussion. I see my office IM blinking. New guy from IT.

New Guy: I’m on the call, so is so-and-so, but I like you best, you sound Sultry.
Me: Seriously can’t help it. First job out of college I set up my voicemail and a few days later got a message from my admin that I might want to change my voicemail to sound less like a 900 number.
New Guy: I was thinking about asking you to leave me a voicemail so I could save it for a rainy day. I like to go by Big Boy.

For those of you who have never met my father, he retired more than 5 years ago. I think it was partially because he could and partially because they instituted hostile work environment policies. Growing up with him was much like living the what-not-to-say-at-work educational videos .

Dad: "Hey is that a camel hair sweater you have on?"
Me: "No Dad, it's cashmere"
Dad: "Oh, then what are those two humps? HA HA HA!"

Suffice to say a fairly high tolerance for pain was necessary. Given my years of breeding I have impeccable taste for toilet humor. As a result my non-work brain says "These guys crack me up!". My work brain however says "Good God, not over email. Didn't you read our technology policy!" (please reference earlier post about enjoying being gainfully employed)

So, to all you frisky, moon howling men out there, no matter what kind of ePheromones you're picking up, save it for Happy Hour.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Snot & the Quest for a Cure

For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of visiting my fabulous office space, I have to say it's pretty swanky. When I moved there in mid 2005 they told me it was temporary. "Don't worry about the lack of space, privacy,'s TEMPORARY". Not wanting to be the nay-sayer I said "oh sure, no problem".

Here we are, two years later and I'm still sharing a large cube. Thankfully we like each other a lot so it's like having a partner in crime, at least until we're both yelling over each other on different conference calls because we can't hear. We've affectionately named our area "the double wide". I've also added a yoga ball that I occasionally sit on. It's popular with our guests since no one else has a yoga ball/guest chair.

I would ask for an upgrade but there's several problems with that.
1. I would lose my cool cubemate and frankly that's the most entertaining part of my day.
2. An upgrade is more like a cube on steroids. A desk surrounded by partial walls and a shower door. It's more like the illusion of privacy because it's really not sound proof in the least.

You might be saying, "Oh, it can't be that bad, you're just a complainer". Case in point: someone strolled by the other day and asked me where the guy in the shower stall across from me was. I said, "Gee, not really sure" and she asked, "Do you support him?". Like a dope I responded "Support him in what?". I need a new space.

Anyway, the point of this story is that I can hear everything and all day yesterday all I heard was coughing, nose blowing and snot sucking. Seeing as I'm going on vacation soon this is totally expected. I get sick every time I go on vacation. So when the runny nose started I didn't think anything of it. Then my left rear molar started to hurt AND my eye was sort of infected. Now I'm forced to wear glasses and I have obscene quantities of dry skin around my nose. I fancy myself a Quasimodo of sorts.

Knowing that I need to get well before I leave, I start by calling the dentist. I show up there bright and early this morning and after tapping and poking he declares my teeth fine. "You have a sinus problem, you should take some drugs and call me next week if it doesn't get better and we'll send you to a root canal specialist". sinuses. These guys are hacks.

So I leave and I figure I have time to kill before I go back to the office. Why not swing by my Ophthalmologist and have him look at the goopy eye. He pokes and prods (he actually knocked on my face) and he says, "Your eye is fine, but you have a sinus problem." does a sinus problem make your eye feel like there's a giant piece of sand in it??

So I call my husband, "oh yea, sorry I didn't catch that. That's pretty textbook. You know your sinuses run right along your upper molars and near your eyes". WTF....betrayed by the husband.

So I run across town to doctor number 3. He says "what are your symptoms?". I say, "One Dentist, one Ophthalmologist and my husband". He said, "Yea, you have a sinus infection, we all have the same textbooks, here's a script."

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

My New Virtual Home

For my one reader, thank you Joe, I've moved to a new location. I wasn't so tired of all the porn spam on Myspace as I was my mother complaining that she had to sign up for Myspace to read my blog. Then I started thinking about my mother, the church lady, and the porn spam and the long suppressed Catholic guilt kicked in....

Ok, so technically I have one reader and one would be reader. So I guess this makes my official count two. Yes, I realize that I can hardly call my 10 entry mess a blog but everyone has to start somewhere.

I got an email the other day from my friend Trish and she has officially boycotted all social networking sites. I applaud her effort since I practically went blind for the first week I was on Myspace with all the snooping I did. Her email got me thinking because she made the very astute observation that the tides were turning towards Facebook. First it was Friendster, then Myspace, now Facebook and let us not forget the uber snobby Then there's the work related sites like LinkedIn and Plaxo. It's enough to make a person nutty. Since I dislike Facebook more than I hate Myspace I decided it was time to move to neutral territory. I had been sneaking peeks occasionally at my friend Kajal's blog ( which is hysterically funny btw) when I decided that blogspot seemed like as good a place as any. Plus I'm a big fan of Google taking over the world so I look at this as me doing my part to support the machine. So here we are.

I sincerely hope for the sake of my two readers that I don't disappoint. We're leaving for two destination weddings over the next few months, which of course includes vacationing with my disorganized husband and visiting my in-laws, so I would put money on at least a few humorous stories there.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

I think I’m getting old.....

So we've moved and unpacked (mostly). The thing about unpacking is that you get to review your entire life in a few days. I just opened up a box of crap that I haven't touched in probably four years. The stuff inside perhaps more. It somehow managed to move with me all this time and I never saw a need to do anything with it. As it turned out it was a bunch of pictures, cards and things from college and high school.

It's amazing when you think about it. Although I graduated almost ten years ago from college, it seems like yesterday. Perhaps it seems that way because I've kept in touch with so many of my close friends from those years.

My father once told me that the friends I had in high school won't be my friends once I'm an adult so I shouldn't make such a big deal out of all of the drama. Perhaps it was his way of telling me to look at the big picture. In some respects what he said is true, but I still have a handful of girlfriends from grade school and high school that I see more than I see most other people. They're visiting for brunch tomorrow, two of them with their children. I can't imagine my life without them. We are, of course, very different people who lead very different lives now but something about the time we spent growing up together keeps us together. The boyfriends we've lived through, the stupid things we've done and somehow managed to come out alive or at least without any permanent damage and the raging wars we've had between the four of us. The letters we mailed each other while we were in college (yes, letters….email didn't really exist until later in our college careers) were quite humorous.

It's also impressive the amount of crap I've kept. I know what I was thinking when I kept it. I wanted to remember small pieces of the life I led, how I felt at that exact moment in time. Sometimes the reality is shameful, sometimes happy, sometimes a bit bewildering. I don't think I would want to go back but it's nice to remember because it helps me understand how I ended up where I am today.

I am notorious for not remembering anything. My friends like to tell stories about things I did, I rarely remember them – maybe I was drunk, maybe I just have a bad memory (I would like to think it's the former). Perhaps that's why I save things; the moment I look at a picture or read a letter it all comes flooding back. I went through a picture drawer and started sorting. I can't believe that in the four years I spent in college I only took less than eight to ten rolls of film. I can only guess it's because film and developing was expensive (yes, film and developing….digital cameras came after college). I wish I had more, then again, maybe I don't. Perhaps the memory in some cases is far more glamorous than the reality forever recorded in a picture. My one college girlfriend recently said to me, "I remember we looked good in college but when I go back and look at pictures I think we look kind of beat-up.". I would guess it's all relative. Of course we look much better now, that's what having a job and money will get you – regular hair cuts and color, massages, pedicures, facials, real make-up, better clothes, etc. I think we looked pretty good for people who drank heavily four to five days a week, didn't sleep and ate like shit.

One of my closest friends just moved to London with her husband and I'm quite sad. I know I'll get to see her more than some other folks she left behind, but as she put it, "it's not the same as just stopping by for a drink.". It's hard when people move away but the beauty of this electronic age is that you can keep up to date with people very easily. Email, webcams, digital pictures, etc. But is it the same? I know basically what's going on with my friends but we're not necessarily making memories together. We're not creating the stories that we'll tell in ten years or at least not with the frequency we once did. Are we just maintaining the status quo? Maybe this is what the next phase of our lives is about. We get married, we have families, we start to create our memories together as a family and we let outsiders in every once in awhile.

I recently read the cover story of Philadelphia Magazine about over-parenting. While I doubt I will ever have the money (or the bad sense) to over parent as it's described there, the basic idea still applies. People are making their children their world and losing their own lives. Perhaps our parents didn't have time to cart us around to fifty thousand activities because they were busy having cocktails with the neighbors. They were still making their own memories. I recall being dropped off at stuff a lot. I remember running wild around the neighborhood with all the other neighborhood kids. My parents hardly ever came to my high school sporting events. Guess what, I'm not emotionally damaged and I probably have a better relationship with my parents than most people. We actually like spending time together. I think I am the person I am because my parents gave me enough rope with which to hang myself. I was allowed to screw up my grades, my college applications, my health, my relationships…geez, perhaps I am somehow damaged? But through all of this they continued to drill into my head the things they thought were important. Be someone that keeps their word, honesty is important, work hard and respect yourself, respect your elders, be thankful for what you have because other people don't have the luxury of the things you take for granted, don't spend money you don't have, life is not a destination; enjoy the journey, get an education so some man doesn't leave you with four children working as a secretary on welfare some day…I think I just channeled my mother for a moment there….

Here's my point, and this is best said through cliché, I think they were trying to teach me to fish. Not that I don't still screw up on a daily basis, but I like to think that they gave me a good foundation based on their own success and screw-ups. I only wonder if I'll someday be able to attempt to parent the way they did. Growing up I always knew that if I screwed up I would be grounded or cracked with the back of a hand. That'll put you in kiddie court these days. Then again, like everything else, I'll have to figure it out when the time comes.