Thursday, May 27, 2004

Jeudi trois

Ooo la la! That thar' is French!

And now, for some Possum-y goodness, if you'll pardon the oxymoron. (Hey! who you callin' a moron, eh?)

1) Who is the most peculiar person you know personally? Please give a short listing of their particular foibles you find most compellingly peculiar. Obviously, the more peculiar, the more prudent it will be to disguise their identity to some extent--giving their name, address, and aluminum-foil-hat communicator number is probably a bit too much information. You know how those people are.

Well, other than me...but that's question 2.

Let's see...there was the employee who became a little unhinged and was convinced that we were all out to get her so she took notes on everything going on and then would leave her notes lying around. "Girl, they KNOW you're good and they're just jealous of you. WATCH YOUR BACK!" "Saw X, Y and Z talking today. They are plotting AGAINST me! Why do they hate me?" When the truth was, all we wanted was for her to do her work. And when the note taking started interfering with her production and we talked to her about it. BAM! Lawsuit. For racial, sexual and age discrimination. Only she couldn't find an attorney to take the case so she did it herself. The first court threw it out because she didn't go to the EEOC before filing. So she went to the EEOC and they assigned a case worker to investigate and she threw a hissy fit because the case worker was a male Hispanic and "he couldn't POSSIBLY know what her situation was like." So, the EEOC said "whatever" and gave her a right-to-sue letter. Back to the courts, where every judge threw it out. In the mean time, she had to go on medical leave for "stress", once she found a doctor who would diagnose her the way she wanted (it took several tries to find one). She appealed the dismissal of her case from the state courts to the federal courts all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States. I used to keep the "we will not review" letter from the office of Justice Souter in my desk drawer and look at it from time to time. She finally had to come back from medical leave and she worked one day then quit. Surprise! What made this so funny/sad is that TWO of her sisters worked for us and THEY just shook their heads when her name was mentioned (by others, of course, since us management types couldn't talk about her...pending litigation and all).

Then there's the guy who tried to live his life without any outward emotion. Feelings could not be trusted and therefore had no place in his world. And he wondered why he was forty and alone. I was thrown together with him when he was assigned to take over one of the functions I'd been performing and I had to train him. Once you got past the cold, logical side, he really was a pretty nice guy. I think I was the only one in the office who knew it. He had a bifurcated personality. His "work mode" as I called it was completely devoid of any social niceties. He'd walk up to you and say, "I need information about XYZ, when can I expect to get that from you?" If you said, "Hey, how's it going" in response, he'd say, "That's irrelevant. When can I get the information I need?" The guy was like a machine and very focused on the task at hand which is why he got the nicknames "Laser" and "Bullet" (since when he decided to walk somewhere he did it with purpose - rapidly and efficiently). I tried to counsel him that if he would engage in a little "chit chat" once in a while, he'd get the results he needed with less hassle and frustration. "But that doesn't make sense" he'd say, "Why should I have to ask about somebody's kids to get them to do their job?" ::sigh:: His "non-work mode" was a little better, but it still felt stiff and forced. Like he was thinking, "I'm not working, so it is logical to act like I enjoy other people's company." I probably was the closest thing he had to a friend, but I haven't heard from him since I left that job. I can hear him say, "You are no longer able to help me advance in this company. It makes no sense to invest any time with you."

I said he didn't express emotions, but that's not quite true. He did express one emotion frequently: anger. Directed usually at himself for not being perfect. One of the things you develop over time as you do a job is a "knack" for knowing where the problems are when you hit a snag. But he never developed anything like a knack for the job he took over from me. "Hunches and intuition are not logical." So when he'd come to the end of his rope trying to find where the problem was, he'd come ask me. (more efficient, don't you know) And after hearing the problem, I'd say, "it's probably related to X and I'd look here and here or maybe there to find it." He'd go off and come back about 10 minutes later just livid - not mad at me, but at himself for not being able to figure it out on his own. "How did you KNOW where to look?" he'd say through clenched teeth. "I looked for THREE hours and never thought to look there." "I don't know" I'd say, "it just sounded like one of those things that might be the cause of your problem." Which made him even more frustrated. "I can't learn intuition!"

2) What characteristic(s) about yourself do you think others might find just a tad bit peculiar?

I'm introverted. No. Really.

I am uncomfortable in most social situations, especially those where I don't know most people, and much prefer staying at home to going out. When Mrs. A and I attend a social function, I'm the one who says upon arriving, "Is it time to go yet?"

The reason most folks who know me can't believe I'm introverted is that I act extroverted around people I know: yakking them up, quipping and joking, being loud and boisterous, never afraid to be the center of attention.

What they DON'T know is that they guy they are seeing is not the real me. Because I'm introverted, I compartmentalize a lot. And different people get to see different compartments. Did you know that a good number of actors and actresses are introverted? It's because we're so used to hiding and disguising ourselves that acting is easy. And so, introverts tend to have different personas for different situations. Most people know me by my "on" persona. My "on" persona IS me, but it's only a part, not the whole.

Those of you who are introverted know EXACTLY what I'm talking about. The rest of you are just scratching your heads. See question 2.

3) Knowing how Peculiar-Americans tend to have rather different ideas when it comes to politics, have you ever voted for a person who was identified as something other than a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or little-'I' independent?

No, can't say that I have.

I'm into clear-cutting and seal clubbing so the Greens won't have anything to do with me.
I'm a red-blooded money grubber so the Socialists and Communists stay away.
I'm not good at goose-stepping or Jew-hating so the Nazis are right out.
And I'm not a dope smoker so the Grassroots party has, shall we say, been 'weeded' out.

By the way, I found this page to be quite informative about the "other" parties out there. I mean, who KNEW there was a Pansexual Peace Party?

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