Text Conversation Closure

April 29, 2011

If you and I were texting or chatting via technology and you can’t see me. And I don’t respond for a while, what do you think?

Obviously, it depends on the situation, but I am not the person who just lets conversations trail off. I close conversations.

During the work day, the phone rings or someone pops in. I’d say if I have a meeting. Fire alarm? No, once I went outside, I’d be standing around bored and reply.

Between 5 pm and midnight my time, odds are I’ve got a game going on. If I texted you first the day before, assume I was bored on a bus and texted you yesterday, now I’m at the game and can’t text back.

My mom would think there was an earthquake, but I wouldn’t miss the opportunity to text her with “We’re having an earth-“ like Al Michaels said during the 1989 World Series. So basically, game, work, or I’m driving (because texting and driving is unsafe and illegal).

I bring this up because I assume everyone is like me and when someone doesn’t reply to me, something bizarre must have happened (*Ok, that’s half the reason).  — In case of emergency, the expected protocol should be that you would text your emergency, I reply “call someone?” And you either call (it’s faster), or text No or N. Text me when you’re safe.

For each bizarre reason, I have pondered “is that a reason to abruptly stop texting?”  Here’s the answers:

Homicidal Maniac – No, expected protocol.

Terrorist Attack – Ditto.

Tornado – No. You text from the bathtub/shelter because what else are you doing in the tub/shelter but ask me to relay news?

Hurricane – No, because you’d have either evacuated in advance, or you’d be like “you’re a communications guy always near the internet. Tell everyone I’m alive.”

Car accident – you weren’t texting and driving in the first place, that’s dangerous.

Zombie apocalypse – No. You’d text “Zombies” so I knew to start my ZA plan. Or “zombies, help!” so I could come get you (hahahaha, that’s a death trap for both of us. You gotta take one for the team).

Tsunami – Yes, if you’re running to higher ground. No, once you’re on higher ground (cell towers are tall, climb one). Yes, if your phone gets wet.

Flood/Mudslide – Also either way. Yes, for the expected protocol reason (type N because I don’t have a boat or plane). No, if your phone gets wet, you can’t text back.

Godzilla Arrival– You’d think this could go either way because you’d be right to panic and flee. But that is WRONG. The answer is NO: Because you probably don’t know what to do in a Godzilla Arrival, and I do. You might be confusing Godzilla and Son of Godzilla or misreading the situation. Text me and I will guide you through a Godzilla Arrival. I will need to know: “Is it Godzilla or Son of Godzilla?” “Is he alone?” and “Who showed up first: Godzilla, Mothra, Sea Monster, Astro-Monster, Gigan, Megalon, Mechagodzilla, Biollante, King Ghidorah, SpaceGodzilla, Destroyah, Megaguirus, other?” You need me to guide you through a Godzilla Arrival, because Godzilla is sometimes out to destroy, but often he is there to defend from a more heinous creature like those mentioned. It would be stupid if you aborted our conversation because Godzilla arrived and you fled right into the path of King Ghidorah and were killed instantly when a simple text to me would have told you that Godzilla was there to protect you and run toward him and away from King Ghidorah. (Disclaimer: I cannot be held responsible if you provide misinformation of who arrived first; Especially if you see both Mothra and Godzilla. Mothra has defended from a Godzilla attack, and Godzilla has defended from a Mothra attack.).

*The “bizarre situations” part is totally true. The real reason I bring it up is because I was in mid-conversation with someone, and they stopped replying.

Now, I don’t think my friend is that rude, and she knows how badly I need conversation closure. So something must have come up. Considering she was drinking a glass of wine while texting, naturally I assumed she spilled the wine on herself, and is removing her clothing, and it turned into a scene from Billy Idol’s Rock The Cradle Of Love video.

In which case, the proper courtesy is for you (you know who you are) to explain upon your return, and offer visual documentation of the clothing removal to compensate me for my time wasted awaiting a reply. Same holds true with wardrobe malfunctions, instances where I wasn’t informed you were getting ready for bed, impromptu pillow fights which broke out, or “my friends invited me sunbathing.” This would also be true for all female non-relatives. Dudes may compensate me for my time via free beers.

Work Spouse

April 25, 2011

I was watching Craig Ferguson the other night (air date unknown, it was on my DVR) and he was talking with Kristin Bell. Who is absolutely 100% freaking adorable. She should stop acting, because all of her roles are far less enjoyable as her own personality in real life. I just want to squeeze her. But that’s not why we’re here.

Anyway, she mentioned her “work spouse,” the person at work you talk to and share things with. Go to lunch with, etc, etc. Someone who fills in for your spouse at work, in a non-romantic manner.

I barely paid attention to what she was saying about a work spouse because I was still dwelling on her adorableness. But the next day at work, I walked out of my office, turned one way, stopped, turned another, wondered why I had gotten up in the first place, realized I had no where to go, and returned to my office. Basically, I just needed a break from what I was working on. That would have been a moment where I chatted with my work spouse, if I had one. And then it dawned on me that I do not have one.

At my previous jobs, I had plenty. Often two or more at a time. I had a best friend at one location who would fit the bill because she and I worked together. But she wasn’t even my work spouse. My work spouse was Dawn, who had a tiny little office I’d run to when stupid things transpired and we would vent. Or vice versa. Later she became my “boss,” at which time I utilized the best friend – who actually moved into Dawn’s old office.

Then when I moved on, I had another pair. Although I dated one of them, which removed her from work spouse status. Then both of those found other jobs, and I still had another friend to fit the bill, and then I landed CLM.

CLM was basically the textbook work spouse. After a few weeks, we just understood each other on a level that transcended verbal communication. This was greatly accomplished by the fact that we shared an office. I made her coffee, she gave me fashion advice. It was like the Jim-Pam relationship in The Office without the mutual, yet ill-timed crushes (oh, and we’re not fictional).

We didn’t start finishing each other’s sentences, but it was close. There was at least “jump-in” explanations of each others’ viewpoints we knew so well. Someone (often Tammy, who didn’t technically work with us, but spent a lot of time working out of our office) would question a statement by one of us, only to see the other step in and answer.

Examples would include:
“KevFu doesn’t watch reality TV because there’s people that he KNOWS who’s lives he doesn’t follow along with closely enough, so he can’t add strangers before he’s caught up with actual friends. He does watch some shows solely as an excuse to call some of his friends once a week because they also watch the show.”

“CLM doesn’t like it when other people see her sweat.”

“KevFu has a rule against dating people who work at jewelry stores, and it actually makes a lot of sense.”

“CLM does not believe that cleaning products and food products should ever be placed in the same bag.”

We reached the point where we would start a conversation preemptively so the other didn’t feel bad for interrupting or venting. Such as: “What? What are you mad about?” or “Just say it.”

By the time CLM moved on, Tammy had reached that point where she knew my insanity well enough to take over the role.

But at my new gig… don’t really have that. My BFF in California is actually leaving soon, so while she and I are buddies, that work spouse relationship hasn’t blossomed (mainly because we knew it was temporary so we guarded our emotional investment). We try to get together once a week outside of work, but it’s more like every three. She doesn’t have an office, she works in a very busy room.

There’s not a lot of candidates to take the job here, which is disappointing. Then again, as one of my female friends pointed out “The last thing you need is yet another plutonic female friend.”

H2O The Insanity

April 22, 2011

The bottled water craze as gone too far.  Every one and their mother has made some types of “bottle water is stupid” comment from time to time. Lewis Black’s is outstanding. Jim Gaffigan’s is also decent. And of course, Penn and Teller completely thrashed the entire concept in their episode of “Bullshit!” on the subject. I don’t need to say anything similar to what they’ve already said.

But a colleague and I were walking back to our hotel from dinner, and we stopped into a gas station to grab some snacks for tomorrow. As my associate went to grab a bottle of water, I was astounded by what decisions lay before him.

Of this entire section of cooler, 85 of 90 different types are non-flavored water.

My associate said “All these choices, I think I’m going to try something different.”

Something different? That’s 85 different brands. This isn’t Coke, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Cherry Coke Vanilla Coke, etc, etc. All of which have different flavors. It isn’t Coke vs Pepsi or RC Cola, which are all colas but  taste different and have different formulas.

Every single one of these 85 brands of water have the exact same formula: H2O.  Which bottle shape is the most convenient for you?


April 15, 2011

Last summer, I went to NYC with my college buddies to watch USA vs England in the World Cup at the bar they showed on TV during the game (Jack Dempsey’s). Aside from being an awesome game and atmosphere, I was proud of our group for our tremendous achievement in Mangineering. Manginering is a word I made up to describe things like what we accomplished. We waltzed into a bar with zero available seats. And since our group of five was going to swell to 18 people, this was a problem. No one was leaving, as everyone was decked out in USA gear… three hours before match-time.

So we staked out a standing spot about 12 feet from a TV, in an open space between a big table and a small table that was up against the wall. The area featured a two-foot separated jutting out from the wall. We grabbed a couple of random chairs or stools and then set about acquiring more. Over the next hour, we quietly raided chairs and stools from all over, either by asking people, finding unattended chairs in the staff areas, even fixing a broken chair. While that was going on, we proceeded to make friends with the small table (of two people) and coax them into trading their high sitting stools for low chairs since they were in front of us.

The result was a three-row set-up of stools in the back, chairs in the front, and a small table in the corner by that separator that jutted out which accommodated every single person in our party. We even had a waitress come over and say “Damn, I thought you guys would be screwed and standing all game. They just told me you’re a ‘table’ of mine now.”

Mangineering. When men engineer a situation as only a man can do. Other examples would include:

– Turning an empty drum into a grill.

– Rigging TV/computer equipment to turn one cable line and internet into a three-screen setup with picture-in-picture.

– My old roommate Mike gets mangineering credit for his remote work of watching the baseball playoffs, a football game, and the Real World Las Vegas in a manner that allowed us to miss about two plays of football, zero hot tub scenes and everything Tim McCarver said during the baseball game.

– Using a laundry basket as a coffee table.

– Anything McGyver or Jack Bauer ever did.