Month: May 2008

the last Beatlemaniac?

I may be forty years behind, but recently I’ve been developing a mild obsession with the Beatles. Not so much John, but very much George.

It started a few weeks ago when the radio station I was listening to played some Beatles songs as part of a special oldies program. It’d been a long time since I’d heard any of their non-solo music, and I enjoyed that trip down Penny Memory Lane so much that I had to get up and dance. Multiple times. (Good thing I was alone in my apartment, or there could’ve been mocking.)

When I heard “She Loves You,” the line “I can hurt you too. Apologize to her.” really struck me and in a good way. Ooh! Threatening Beatles! Me *like*!

At some point between that radio broadcast and now, I was clued in to the fact that Eric Clapton wrote “Layla” for George Harrison’s wife, Pattie. That snippet of info piqued my curiosity, and I had to look it up. I read that Pattie had said George was the most beautiful man she had ever seen. Really? George? I’d never paid that much attention to him – or any of them, truth be known – during my brief previous exposures to the Beatles, but the picture at Wikipedia of him with Pattie was not bad.

I’d been wanting to hear “She Loves You” again, so earlier this week, I watched the video at YouTube, then I watched several others, and I must admit that George is absolutely gorgeous. His eyes . . . wow, do I love a man with dark, dark eyes. :dreamy sigh: To see more of him/them, I watched the group’s first movie. I had no idea what to expect with that, but it’s actually pretty funny. Then again, that could just be the mania talking. 😉

This week I’ve also read quite a bit about the guys, their other projects, even about John’s murderer, who will be up for parole again in October of this year.

Oh, and about the situation with Eric Clapton: Pattie left George for Eric. Shame on you, Eric Clapton … although the rest of the story reveals that apparently George was no saint either. And this? Is why I typically make it a point not to read too much about famous people that I’m obsessing over. I usually find out something that I’d rather have gone on not knowing.

I’m feeling a bit less obsessive now.

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vegetarian in a small town, part II

While trying to think of a blog topic last week, I recalled that I’d wanted to use the above subject line, which I’d thought of a while ago. At that time, I had become annoyed that every(!) time(!) we get together to eat at work, without fail, someone will comment on me being a vegetarian. I finally pointed this out to someone, and she replied defensively, “Well, you’ve gotta expect it when you choose to eat that way.” I said, “But it’s the SAME people and the SAME comments every time!” Apparently, my simply sitting there eating my meatless food just begs comment from some people.

As I saw it, the whole thing was a prime example of their cliquish, small town attitude. (Don’t get me wrong. I *love* small towns. I’m *from* a small town, but if we act like that, I apologize profusely because I remain oblivious.) The comments aren’t a polite interest in a different way of doing things. They’re to point out, “You’re different, and that’s just not right.”

As I mentioned, I thought again of bringing this up, but I realized that no one had said much about the vegetarian thing beyond their “joke” of suggesting bacon when I mention being hungry. But the same day I was thinking it hadn’t been mentioned much, it was brought up twice. Once when someone announced that “there are some leftover Subway sandwiches up front, with meat, because that’s how normal people eat.” And again when someone else declared that it says in the Bible that we are to eat meat. (Um, what translation are you reading? Correct me if I’m wrong, but what the Bible does is call out what animals were deemed unclean for those following the Old Testament laws. “Can eat” and “must eat” are two different things.)

Once again, I completely understand why a guy vegetarian friend of mine stopped telling people he was a vegetarian. He wasn’t ashamed of it. He simply got tired of having to defend his choice to the vast majority of the people he knows every time they shared a meal.

vegetarian in a small town, part I

At the Hot Dog Lunch Cookout at work a few weeks ago, the guy doing the grilling was complaining about having to cook the veggie burgers that were purchased for me.

Complainy Carnivore (trash-talking the veggie burgers): “… and they are SO dry, and they’ve probably been frozen since last year. You’d rather have something like that than good old 100% Grade A American beef?”

Me: “And you think *that’s* what in these hot dogs? ?”

the guilty one blogs first

Remember the previous post? I was all, “Oh, OfficeMate! If only you weren’t so quick to judge! You could spare yourself so much grief if you didn’t always assume the worst!” It was just so clear to me how much energy he wastes feeling bad over troubles that are only in his mind.

I’ve heard it said that the things that bother us most in others are the things we are guilty of ourselves. Embarrassingly, yet again I have proven that true in my own life because that same week, as I was reflecting on OfficeMate’s negative tendencies, I remained unaware of the fact that I was repeatedly doing the same thing.

You see, my boyfriend would be viewing my new haircut for the first time on Saturday. In the past, he’s responded to my attempts at a new look with a neutrality that borders on insulting. “Oh,” he remarked on one occasion, “you’re wearing your hair *up* today.” (I always want to respond to comments like that with something similarly noncommittal. “And you’re wearing a *blue* shirt today.”)

I expected him to respond to my latest ‘do in the same bland way. And the more I thought about that, the angrier I became. I peevishly decided that if he did respond with some observation-not-really-a-compliment, that I would point out that everyone else who has felt compelled to share an opinion on the matter has said something nice – sometimes *very* nice – so WHY is it that MY OWN BOYFRIEND can’t be at LEAST that POLITE?!?! If I thought that once I thought it twenty times, and I griped about it to at least four people.

Since I’m writing all of this in the context of confessing my wrongness, you can probably guess that I’m feeling pretty sheepish right about now. He did not have the reaction that I had so angrily anticipated. When he first saw me on Saturday, his eyes grew wide and he sort of leaned back expressing his surprise. That in itself was much better than I expected. (A reaction! I got an actual reaction!) But then he proceeded to say something nice. Out loud. With words. And he said that he could tell I liked it too, which made me feel good both that I appeared confident and that he noticed. And when I half-joked, “Really, the way everyone at work has raved over it, I’m kinda starting to feel bad about the way I looked before,” he responded encouragingly to that as well. “No, no,” he soothed, “just take the compliments as a good thing and leave it at that.”

As I told my sister about my boyfriend’s response being way better than I thought it would be, the truth hit me. I was being an OfficeMate! Hypocrisy, thy name is Anne.

So the next time I start to fret because I “just know” a situation is going to turn out badly, maybe I’ll remember this incident and consider three more words of caution (and hope): Sometimes. I’m. Wrong.

the cautionary tale of Mr. (I’m) Right

Years ago, a co-worker of mine was getting angry describing a dispute he’d had with someone else. Listening to him talk about it, the exchange sounded to me like a simple difference of opinion, really nothing worth getting worked up over, and I tried to (impartially) say that. He was not to be consoled, so I tried to reason that “just because someone doesn’t agree with you doesn’t make them wrong.” “Yes, it does!” he replied, as if I’d just said the stupidest thing in the world.

Okay, now, I’ll admit that there are those Big Issues where we truly believe we’re right, and if you’re a confrontational sort of person, you’ll take any occasion to voice and/or defend those beliefs. If you’re non-confrontational like I am, you are secure enough in your beliefs to hear other people’s opinions, and you realize that you’re probably not going to argue anyone into seeing your point anyway.

That was my point with my co-worker: there are billions of people in this world, and if every differing viewpoint makes you fighting mad, well, you’ll probably be angry a lot and your health will likely suffer. Why not just agree to disagree?

Recently I’ve seen another danger in stubbornly clinging to one’s strong opinions. As I’ve mentioned before, my OfficeMate is one of the most opinionated people I’ve ever met. On the surface, he seems very easygoing, but after you’ve shared an office with him for a year and a half, you see that he’s very … *affected* by what he thinks about things. He will interpret a situation a certain way and then be angry over some wrong that he’s perceived.

Late last year, OfficeMate and I both felt that our training situation wasn’t working out. OM turned in his resignation, and because the higher-ups value his work skills, they negotiated a change in the training situation to appease him. They rehired a Former Employee and put him in charge of training us because that’s what OM and I said we wanted.

However, since FE returned, OM still hasn’t been happy with the training situation. He has taken to complaining to me that FE has changed and that he used us to get rehired. Seeing things that way makes OM so mad that he can hardly respond to any work-related critique from FE in a civil manner.

This has not gone unnoticed by FE. Because OM hasn’t even tried to talk things out with FE, FE truly doesn’t know why things between them changed. All he sees is that OM won’t come and ask him questions, and because of that, OM has been late in finishing all of his recent projects. So, FE asked the higher-ups if they could bring OM to the parent company for a month, so that maybe they could find a training method that suits him. And as I write this, my OfficeMate is many, many miles away in the Midwest, and he’s got one more week before he gets to come home.

As I see it, although FE is not the most people-y person out there, he does want to do a good job. And the higher-ups agreeing to endure the expense and trouble of bringing OM there to train for a month reinforces how much they value him as an employee. Sadly, I’m fairly certain that OM still sees everything that happens and has happened as supporting his initial impressions of the situation. He still believes that FE is out to get him, and he’s concerned that he’s in Nebraska because the bosses have bad news to tell him. He doesn’t realize that he wouldn’t have had to take the trip at all if he could’ve put his negative assumptions aside and found a way to work with FE. His strong opinions have blinded him – to his own hurt – from looking at the situation objectively, and his subsequent actions are causing some negative repercussions.

The moral of this post can be summed up in three words of caution: Self. Fulfilling. Prophecy.