Tuesday, July 12, 2016

It's a short one. And it's about Pokémon...

Since it's release last week I've seen three teams evolve. The lovers, haters, and the people who can't believe they love it (or, the love-to-hate'rs). The lovers just sort of chat about it endlessly. Post pictures of what they've caught. The love-to-haters post funny meme's that acknowledge how ridiculous it's making us all, while still feverishly searching for Pikachu or Charzard. The haters seem irritated to the core that a good portion of their social media friends are playing and talking about something they take no enjoyment in. And they're getting pretty loud about how much they hate it. To the haters, let me offer you some soothing ointment for the spiritual burn that is Pokémon Go. It's actually doing a lot of good! 

People who have been or feel isolated are finding new and interesting things to bring them out of doors and into the path of interacting with other humans. I won't lie, I've felt pretty estranged since I moved here. It's a small rural town and I don't meet many people who chat regularly about the same things I like to chat about. Everyone's nice enough but there's not a lot of common ground out here for things in which I am passionately interested. BUT, two days in to playing Pokémon Go I have met and talked to a bunch of new people. And we're finding each other in the most random places. We would have normally walked right past each other, never engaged and probably not even noticed each other. But because we were all playing the same game, we had something in common to bring us together. That is invaluable to me. I just spoke to someone for the first time today that I've seen every day for the past 3 years. Every day we pass each other and - 

Her: "Good morning".
Me: "Hey". (I've never been a "good morning" person)

And that's it until the next morning. But today I was walking past while looking at my phone and I stopped in my tracks for a second and the girl says "Did you find one?" and I looked up and we started talking. (And I wasn't even playing the game at the time) I'm seeing other articles that share tweets where people who suffer from metal health troubles or are introverted to the max, are finding reasons to get up and go outside. 

Lily and I went Pokémon hunting after Girl Scouts tonight and met a TON of fellow Poképeople. 😂 It was awesome!!!

Not only that, but they've gone and made Pokéstops (places you go and collect goodies to advance your playing abilities) inside places like art museums, science museums, zoo's, opera houses, libraries, etc. This game is bloody brilliant! (When it works.) 

It's got us up and moving, out exploring and interacting with new friends. My daughter and I have a new summer nights activity when I get home from work. Last night, our hunt took us to a library where we spotted not only Poké related items, but a Little Free Library out back in a pretty park. We stopped to check it out and Lily chose a book to take home. We made a mental note to bring it, or another book, back. So in one stop we got fresh air, light exercise, a new book and met some new friends.

So, for my part, I love this game.

Please play responsibly. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

I Have the Power

Today I saw something on social media that made me very sad at the state of the world today. On a smaller scale than things that make it to CNN or your local paper, but still something that most likely affects us all on a daily basis. 

I saw a topic of discussion in which the poster proudly bragged on how they have, in a previous job, used their powers to retaliate against unruly customers. They then asked for others to comment on how they have used their positions similarly in the past. None of these responses were criminal. Nothing above grade school "prank" level. But something about reading all these people proudly state how they even the score when they encounter patrons in need of an attitude adjustment honestly broke my heart a little bit. I'm not ashamed to admit that I cried for a few minutes too.

I almost always work in some sort of customer relations based position where I always have the "ability" to make someone else's day a little more hellacious than it may already be. But I can't bring myself to abuse that power because I always remind myself that I don't know their struggle. They may have had awful news this morning or have physical pain or a similar person or causing hell in their daily life. Who knows, maybe they just genuinely are an asshole. It's not right for them to take it out on random people they don't know, but all I can say on behalf of the human race is please try your best not to match disgusting human behavior with more of it. 

Everybody's naughty sometimes. And who knows, I am nearly 37 years old. Maybe I have misused my powers before on an occasion that has long since slipped my mind. But in such cases that I have allowed my reactions to be controlled by the actions of another, I have never looked back on it with pride. Only ever remorse. To me, it doesn't feel good to do someone else wrong; to add insult to an injury. Case in point: yesterday I had a woman call me on the phone in a very displeased state. To say that this woman was distressed would be an understatement.  She wanted to speak to someone who was unavailable at the time of her call, and in her state of irritation she confused for a moment my personal life with the one of the woman she was asking for. The conversation went a little like this: 

"This is ridiculous. I need to talk to her right now. I'm tired of this and I don't care if her daughter does have cancer." 

"No, that's my daughter that has cancer."

"Oh. Well I'm sorry but I'm just very upset right now. This is ridiculous and I'm tired of it." 

Not only was her comment unnecessary and crude, it was a bit malicious. I had it within my power to destroy the rest of this woman's day. I could have not passed on her message, not followed up with anyone to get an answer for her. I could ignore every single call she ever makes to this office from this day forward. I would most likely eventually be found out and fired for this but you see my meaning. I could have made things worse. Instead I listened to the rest of her rant and apologized to her for the inconvenience of my inability to have an immediate answer for her. When we hung up I sent the message out."Such-and-such asked A, B and C" and put in motion the means to her end.

Ten minutes later, she called back of her own accord and profusely apologized to me for her behavior. She had had a moment to calm down and deeply regretted her demeanor and was completely ashamed of herself.

We don't always get these moments of reconciliation between wrongfully injured parties, so I can't recommend that you hold your breath waiting for that rude customer from last week to come in and say they're sorry, tip you 90% to make up for it and be on their best behavior from this day forward. But you have the capacity to understand that not everyone has your life, not everyone will understand your pain and sadly, not everyone will care. But people understand kindness and whether they ever say it out loud or even admit it to themselves, kindness can go so far in helping a human chain reaction go in the right direction. Be kind when you're needed and tip the scale in favor of a better tomorrow. 

If anything, confront the issue head on. If it's honestly bad enough to warrant retribution in your eyes, speak up in a professional manner and shut it down. But if it's just enough of an irritation to tempt you into taking a petty approach then please remember yourself, find your scruples and rise above the mud. Your future self will thank you for it.

Don't be like the rest of them, darling.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Sorry Not Sorry

It’s Monday, so I feel like ranting. I realize that this is going to piss off almost every single person I've met in Texas, but today I don't give a damn. Hence the name of this entry. In a discussion with my British pen pal today, his first question of the day was this:  "Do the men stand there chewing and spitting it out in a bucket or is that just in the films?" I told him about spit cups and how it's nasty and gross and I'm still not used to seeing it everywhere because it's not as common in California. To which he replied “What is it they chew, is it beef jerky?” Apparently they don’t dip in England, either. So in further discussing chewing tobacco with him, I looked up this picture to send him. 

I would like to make one thing clear; I will NEVER kiss the mouth that houses this nasty shit. Ever. Besides the ungentlemanly behavior of constantly spitting and talking with your mouth full, this is willfully putting a giant cancer ball in your mouth. Cancer is the last thing on this planet that you want or that your family wants for you; and I speak from experience.

I’m not even going to throw statistics at you. You all know them. Everyone knows them. I did, however, look up “Health Benefits of Chewing Tobacco” just to be fair and guess what…there are none. So there’s one for ya. What is the point of this rant then? (Do rants ever have a point?) Not a damn thing other than