This has been a bit of a strange week. People at work have been annoying me more than usual. I find myself responding to comments that are probably meant as jokes or as harmless teasing and taking them very personally.
There's a guy I work with. Not a very well-regarded guy. He's not even in my department. He made a comment to me that pissed me off. In fact, I wasn't even talking to the guy, really, but he took the opportunity of my being in his vicinity to vent some frustrations and backhandedly blame me for his troubles. The gist of it was, "Ha ha, thanks for helping us out with this situation, we'll make sure to find a way to screw you in the future, too." He probably meant it as a joke, even it wasn't especially funny or clever, but it was one of those uncomfortable half-jokes that if you take the wrong way (which I did), can seem deathly serious.
I didn't laugh. Neither did he.
And it pissed me off. I didn't have a witty retort (not even now), because I first off couldn't figure out whether it was supposed to be a joke or not. That took about a second and a half. The next two seconds were spent trying not to make a face or find a baseball bat to beat the guy with. Those two seconds were also spent trying to fathom why on earth the guy would make a comment like that and if he was really serious. The guy (whom I haven't known well enough or long enough to figure out his degree of seriousness in such a situation) leaned back in his chair and smirked. I don't know a lot of people who actually have a "smirk" expression, but he's got it nailed.
All those calculations in my head left me silent, and by the time a clever thing to say came to mind (involving a cactus, some cows and his anus), it was too late. I'd missed the moment.
Same thing happened today with a woman who happens to work really closely with the guy. Maybe they've been taking Uncomfortable Joke Making classes together because she caught me as I was coming back from my regular lunch and commented about my "two-hour lunch." Apparently she'd tried to find me while I was gone and because I wasn't around, she assumed I'd been gone for hours. Then, she tried to play it off like she was just teasing me. Now, first off, I live five minutes away from work. When I go to lunch, I go home, heat up a Healthy Choice dinner or make a sandwich or eat leftovers from the night before. I'm not screwing hookers at a hotel or partying with senators at the Four Seasons or dealing drugs in the parking lot. I'm at home, eating a sandwich, maybe eating some Ruffles and ranch dip if I'm feeling extravagant. I go home for lunch and maybe catch up on a bit of recapping or watch some Kids in the Hall, as much to get away from sitting at my desk all day than anything else. I'm almost always there and back in less than an hour unless I have some other errand to run like hitting the post office or picking up Kleenex for the office or something.
Then I get back and have somebody act as if I just took a vacation to Barbados while she was hard at work.
You know what? Don't need it. Didn't ask for it. You can have it.
For the rest of the day, I had to e-mail this person about a story that was coming along, and I made sure to make comments about how staying past 4:30 in the afternoon is overtime for me and how I'd need to take several long naps in between short periods of work.
When in doubt, encourage your tormentors.
Is it just me? I think I'm so used to the Web now, of reading people in forums be blatantly rude or saying exactly what's on their mind in the written word of journals and Web pages, that when someone says something ambiguous that's obviously meant as an insult/joke, it just pisses me off now. I think I'm losing the ability to take a subtle ribbing. I'm getting used to reading exactly what's on people's minds, and in the melee of verbal exchanges, I'm becoming lost when people try to slide a sly little insult my way.Not that these people are wits of the Blackadder variety. In fact, I'm sure they rehearsed these little comments until it sounded just right in their head and they knew I'd be around for them to spring their little trap. I'm very glad it worked out so nicely for them, and I'm sure their dreams are filled with replays of that spectacular moment when they managed to shut me up for a few seconds as I mentally assessed their seriousness.
I used to have editors who gave me a hard time (and when they did it, it was a joke, and usually very funny), and I got used to it and learned to respond very well. Bosses enjoyed teasing me because they knew I'd give them a good response.
Now, I work in a small office outside the newsroom where I spend most of the day editing stories, moving files around, doing stuff on the Net. There's not at much face-to-face involved in my job.
Is all that time in front of the computer robbing my capacity for letting water roll off my back?
Obviously, if I have to wait until 12 hours later to come up with this written response.
Okay, this was an element of cuteness that I could not have foreseen entering my life:
She scored perfectly on the Archness Quiz. The photo disturbs me, though, because I look at the picture and I wonder if you can tell from that age if someone will grow up to be arch. The makeup, though, is very arch.
We had our first Latino Comedy Project writer's meeting the other night for our next show in April. We started throwing around sketch ideas for the next show and it looks like a lot of it is going to be on video and presented on stage, which is a big step for us. Being able to combine live performance with stuff on film is going to be a big challenge.
If there's one reason why I think it'll work it's because of the massive amounts of ideas that people are bringing to the table. It's a lot of new people bringing new energy with them and they have some cool ideas.
We're definitely hitting Bush hard (I really want to try again to write a West Wing parody... originally I had it featuring the first Latino president. Now I'm thinking it should just be "W." getting confused by all the fast-talking West Wing characters). We'll probably also do something about the Texas prison escapees that just got caught this week.
For about three hours, we just sat in my living room, about 13 aspiring comedians, trying to make each other laugh with our ideas, and fleshing out ideas other people had. I'd forgotten how much fun this could be.
This weekend, I want to see my folks. I haven't been home since Christmas and they only live an hour away. It's just been so busy lately, and getting away even for a day just puts me so far behind. Maybe I'll go down for the Super Bowl. Maybe they can come up here.
One thing I'll definitely be doing is watching this week's episode of Temptation Island, which I recorded during our LCP meeting. I'm not ashamed. I'm totally hooked. I want to watch those ho's and man-ho's go down. Stee's doing an excellent job recapping it on MBTV. You should check out his recaps.
I actually had a heated discussion with a close friend of mine a few weeks back when the show was about to start. She argued (and the details are fuzzy because it was late at night and I was drinking coffee) that these shows (including Survivor) are just voyeuristic trash.
I think I argued back that this is kind of the point, at least with Temptation Island. But with Survivor, I felt that even with all the manipulative editing, it wasn't really trashy. It felt a lot more real than The Real World to me in that despite its artificial premise, the show was still about people trying to do very basic things: eat, sleep, go to the bathroom, win money. They weren't arguing about petty stuff like who put the finger in the peanut butter or who won't get off the phone. The dilemmas they faced had to do with their basic human needs. I thought that was pretty damned compelling.
Just about all TV is artificial. They didn't really try to hide that fact, and the fact that it had an intrusive host who was always around definitely made no bones about it being a game show. But to this day, I think it was very well done and I have to applaud CBS if only for keeping the identity of the winner secret right up to the end.
I had also recapped a few episodes of Survivor, so I felt a need to defend it, I guess.
I wish I could make the same argument for Tempatation Island, but I'll be honest: I'm watching it to see how badly these couples can screw their relationships up. I'm in it for the T&A and the T&W -- The Train and the Wreck.
So while I'm on Temptation Island, you have a great weekend. Enjoy the Super Bowl. And of course, the commercials.