Saturday, May 14, 2005

Remind Me Again Why Anyone Would Care...?

At work, I have been noticing a phenomenon that is sort of strange, sort of disturing, and not a little confusing.

The folks that I work with seem, (to me), to be inordinately interested in small details regarding my actions and habits. I'm not sure why this is.. but its pretty weird, and, to be honest, it irks me slightly, though I can't say exactly why.

The only reason that I know this is because they discuss and comment on what I do openly, which is not a big deal in the grand scheme... but, well... it's fucking strange!!

Admittedly, I am a bit of an odd duck. Not in the sense that I bother people (at least I don't think I bother folks...), or do eccentric things all the time... I don't... but I do have quirks. For instance, I generally always have a book with me wherever I go. It's usually in a pocket or tucked into my waistband (if its a paperback), or in a knapsack (if its a hardcover). I bring a plastic bottle of unsweetened tea to work. I make the tea at home with mint from the garden, and I sip it throughout the day. I don't want to drink carbonated beverages and shit like that, and water is sort of drab to me if thats all I have... so I drink tea. Water is generally available. I tend to be very methodical in my work habits. I have a way of doing things, and I do them more or less the same way every time, depending on the conditions. I have spent most of my adult life as either an Airman, Soldier, Bodyguard, or Cop, so I have a somewhat military demeanor. By this I mean in my physical posture and in my speech patterns and, to some degree, in my way of thinking. I make a concerted effort to tone this down, but I know that its noticeable... at least in the sense that I tend to be very courteous when others are a bit more laid back. I don't have a stick up my ass, but until I get to know somebody, I am somewhat formal, usually... how long it takes me to feel comfortable can vary greatly... from seconds to never to anywhere in between... so what does all this mean??

I'm not really sure... it is the result of an ad hoc self-analysis in which I am trying to figure out what the fucking interest is about. I'm not all that interesting when you get down to it... at least not when I'm at work. I go to work, I jump through my ass most of the day, and I leave as soon as I can. That's it. But the folks that I work with discuss how I set up my work area, what I wear, what I read, what I fucking eat... Yogurt has created quite a stir.. go figure.... the schedule of my bowel movements and bladder evacuation... the fact that I am going to the gym (I have a tab on my key chain... it's the membership card.. you scan the barcode in order to sign in at the gym). They comment on the fact that I have memorized most of the inventory numbers and can find any of the 95000+ items within seconds in most cases (Yes... that's ninety five thousand plus items... we stock a lot of bullshit), and they mimic my speech patterns.

This isn't done maliciously. Though, I have to think that it isn't meant to be exactly complimentary, either. I can't quite figure out what the hell its about.

Here's the deal... I could not tell you what or when anyone else wore, ate, drank, fucked, shit, or said if you put a gun to my head. I don't notice it.. and, quite honestly, I don't care. It never makes a blip on my radar. Its trivial bullshit. If they mention that they have something going on that seems important to them, even though I may have no interest... I'll remember that, and ask about it later on... I like the folks that I work with. They're good people. I care whether they are doing alright, how their family and home life is going, their triumphs and failures, and thier major interests... one guy races cars, another is a fisherman, still another likes to golf. I don't share any of these interests, but I am interested by virtue of the fact that I share a great portion of my life with these people and they are interested in these pursuits... I discuss recipes with the cooks, children with the parents, pets with anyone who has them, and gardening with the plant folks. Honestly, we don't usually have much time to converse, because we are going 300 MPH most of the time, especially during the busy season... (In the winter it can be absolutely dead... and that's when we talk). I have an interest in the people, and in their lives.... I emphatically do not have any interest whatsoever in when they take a dump, what they brought or bought for lunch, how they choose their phraseology, their posture, or how many books they happen to be reading... and if I did, I think I would seriously need to find something to do, or go beat off... or something.

This isn't a major rant... I'm more baffled than put-off... but, folks... c'mon... what the fuck???

Every day I am bombarded with comments about whether I went to the gym, what I am eating, whether or not I am ready to give up the whole fitness thing.. They seem to hate the fact that I am doing this, and I don't really ever even mention it. (If I was shooting my pie-hole off about the gym and all of my accomplishments, and how great I am, blah-blah-blah... I would understand why this would be tiresome.. but I honestly don't.) I would think that they would be glad for me and encourage me.

I don't really respond all that much when everyone is busting balls. I can bust balls with the best of 'em, but, generally, I just let it roll off my back when its directed at me, laugh with 'em, and keep working. When they target someone else, I don't usually join in. If I want to take a shot, I do... and it's usually a good one that gets a laugh, but its never malicious or mean. We play, just like everyone else does....

One of the guys (the Fly) confronted me about the gym the other day and asked me when I was going to quit 'wasting my time', and just 'be normal'. He said that 'it isn't going to work, so why don't you just quit?'. Some of the customers asked me what I had to say (I hadn't replied, -- I usually don't reply to stuff like that, since nothing that I would say will generally make any difference anyway...). I said, "Maybe he's right. Maybe not. I guess we'll have to wait and see. I prefer to let my actions speak for me. All I can do is try... and keep trying." They seemed to accept my answer fairly well. They fly walked off. I have been trying to figure out why on earth this would make the slightest difference to him at all. To my mind, it shouldn't. But, apparently... and to my endless confusion and surprise... it does. What the hell is that about??

The female who does the books is constantly getting up, walking over to where I work and asking me what I am doing, what am I up to, what am I going to do next, what did I do before, etc., etc. I generally just look at her and don't say much at all. Sometimes I ask her what It looks like I'm doing, or I tell her that if she has nothing to do, to do it somewhere else. I would like to tell her to go pound sand up her ass sometimes, but I don't want to hurt her feelings, so I just smile and tell her what I am doing most of the time... even though anyone who wasn't blind would be able to look at me and see what the fuck I'm doing.

In any case... I feel somewhat vindicated. My boss must also have been very interested in what I do when I'm at work. He never discussed it with me, and he never asked me what I have been doing. What he did do was to give me a fairly decent raise in my paycheck yesterday, and that is way-cool!!

As for the other folks... I have no idea what this is all about... hopefully it will pass and I will be out of the fishbowl soon, and they can all discuss when somebody else goes to the can, and how long it took, and what they ate, and what they drank, and how they talk, and whether they must have had sex last night.... Jeez!


Mona Buonanotte said...

I'm no expert, but it sounds like the guys you work with are a little jealous of you. You're a smart guy who doesn't really give a fuck, you do your own thing, and they don't understand why you're not 100% like them. Or they just like bustin' a guys balls, like, constantly.

I work in a pod of cubes, the only girl in a department of 9. We're on computers all day and really sorta bored, but our personal revelations don't go to the length that yours seem to. Perhaps it's just the atmosphere of your particular business type. The egghead boys I work with make jokes about software and javascript. Although the one guy who was caught taking a Cosmopolitan magazine into the bathroom DID cause quite a bit of teasing, ribbing, and joking about sticky pages and 'grabbing the bishop'.

And maybe the female bookkeeper is flirting with you.

Congrats on the raise! You can take us bloggers out for drinks at your leisure! ;-)

Bear said...

I have no idea why they would be jealous of me... it seems kind of pointless... but, something is definitely causing them to focus their attention on me. It would be pretty pathetic if it turned out that they are jealous of me... I'm not really somebody to be jealous of, at least not in my opinion. I'm happy being me, but I'm not sure most other folks would want to... (My blather-alarm just went off... I'll leave off on this right here).

I have also noticed that if I make a suggestion about how to do things better, they will initially shoot it down, and then, if I am smart enough to just leave it alone and not bring it up again, they will then implement it without talking about it. So I sort of have to approach things sort of sideways. I can generally get things implemented, I just have to be delicate and circumspect about it or I ruffle everyone's feathers.

As for ballbusting... its non-stop, which is usually funny, but which can cross the line sometimes too... I generally think its pretty funny.

I would be very surprised if the female is flirting with me... It seems to me that she doesn't much like me at all. But Elysia says that I'm woefully blind to this sort of thing... whereas, I think she sees it where it may not exist, or where it is probably something else... The honest answer is that I have no idea. I think I would be mildly weirded out if she were flirting with me.

Drinks are on me!!... I'm making melonballs, cosmos, sour apple martinis, frozen daquiris, and red devils. We'll provide the salsa and chips!!

Mona Buonanotte said...

Here's why they're jealous of command respect. You've been in the military, a cop, special forces...they expect you to be a hard-ass, someone who could kill them with your little finger. They're intimidated by your background and your silence. So they make up for it by trying to cut you down to 'normal' size. Having to go at suggestions sideways is exactly what I have to do with my kids...give them time to process it and see it's a good idea, then let them go. Not saying you work with children, but it's that sort of gentle pushing that gets through.

Elysia's are woefully blind to the flirting of women. Some of the younger guys I work with come in with stories of dates they've had or girls they've met and I have to pick up the nearest blunt object to bean them with and say, "DUDE! She was SO flirting with you!" It's cute and sweet in a way, except if you're the girl doing the flirting!

Oh, and if you're mixing drinks, I'll try the Red Devil. I have NO idea what it is, but I'll go with the evil-sounding drink every time!

Bear said...

As for the whole jealousy thing, all I can think of to say is "Ach! {SNORT!}"

I will chalk-up the flirt-blindness alongside my case of MRB (Male Refrigerator Blindness) (Leftovers? Where? I didn't see any leftovers!)

Red Devil:

1 1/2 oz vodka
1 1/2 oz peach schnapps
1 1/2 oz Southern Comfort®
1 1/2 oz sloe gin
2 oz triple sec
2 oz orange juice
1 splash grenadine syrup

Ice up a Collins Glass, add above, shake, imbibe, repeat as necessary.

I've been told my Red Devils are fantastic!

Mona Buonanotte said...

Mmmm...sounds dangerous! In that case, I'll have two!

Unfortunately...or, fortunately...we've found some whiskeys and scotches that go down too unbelievably well, so our flair for mixing drinks is, of late, limited to: plop ice in glass, pour in alcohol, drink.

I heartily applaud your drinkmaster skills and look forward to ordering a Red Devil, "just like Bear makes"!

Tish Grier said...

I got a good giggle out of your post, Bear.

I've been there. At Smith College (which I attended as a "mature" student) I was often assailed with questions about who I am and why I do the things I do. Apparently, someone studying their ass off and then dressing up and going to a fetish club, at the age of 40, was just so out of the ordinary that it made me a woman of mystery and my cohorts completely...yes...jealous.

Some of us live our lives to the fullest, and that makes others either admire us or be jealous of us. Sounds like you're one of those guys who, no matter what you do, will never be quite "normal" the way everybody else is.

You're not boring.

and alot of people are, yet won't do anything to change it.

oh, and the girl is definitely flirting with you. But, I understand your reaction. That kind of stuff blows by me, too. I've got too much life to live to notice that kind of stuff.

Elysia said...

So she's flirting with you, huh?

I'll kick her asshole so high she'll think it's the moon shining down on her.

I'M going to the gym too, ya know! GRRRRROWLLLL!