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Jeremy's Ramblings, Babblings, and Other Pretentious Bullshit.
Monday, February 28, 2005
 
Sometimes, the lack of communication skills that the human beings around me possess are astoundingly primitive. When dealing with this from strangers I pass on the street, it is bearable. However, I just realized I don't usually talk to strangers that I pass on the street. And usually I'm not in a position where I'm passing strangers on the street, as I seldom walk anywhere (this is Southern California, after all).

However, inane chatter becomes truly unbearable when you constantly hear it from those who you see every day. There are various people at the office with whom the mere utterance of their voice sends me into a small rage. Whether it's Guy Who Only Teases Me, Woman Who Gives Me Lame Advice or Clueless Guy, it drives me insane.

Today, all three of them got to converge over one topic: my recent haircut. On Friday night, my hair (which was about shoulder-length) got cropped to a more reasonable and easier-to-shampoo length. Not buzzed, not crew cut, just shorter. And yet this supposedly significant event (which, last I checked, something like 94.3% of the U.S. population does on a regular basis) required a barrage of comments, including the astute "You cut your hair!" and the extremely witty "Hey, Mr. New Hairdo".

Yes, they're just making stupid comments about my hair, but it is simply one of many annoyances that these people have bestowed on me for the past two years. From one person (and the friend that he shares a desk with), I get the endless teasing about my hair (messy), my clothes (unironed), my shoes (holes in them), my workspace (unorganized), my computer (slow), my manner (tired), my eating habits (unhealthy), my weight (thin), my age (young), etc. How do you carry on a conversation with someone whose purpose, as far as you can see, is to endlessly "josh" you about the way you live your life, as if its any business of theirs.

Another person constantly gives me advice on my relationship with my 17 year-old girlfriend, who she has never met. I bring up the age only because she does, as she proceeds to tell me all of the best ways to avoid a situation in which Brey would accuse me of statutory rape. As if the woman that I've been dating for six months is really out to get me, because of the money I don't have or the friend of hers I didn't screw over. Recently, upon learning of a trip I was taking to San Diego with Brey, this woman told me to not let her take her shoes off because "if you get pulled over, she can say you tried to rape her". Okay, three things...

1). Can you show Brey a little bit of fucking respect?
2). Couldn't she accuse me of rape without taking off her shoes? Are the cops really going to say, "I'm sorry, young lady, but we don't believe you. Your shoes are clearly on."
3). What? Did she actually hear what she said?

I believe that's the problem with these people. They aren't listening to what they say. They just let the words flow out, entirely free of conscious thought, like cockroaches with an Associate's Degree. The third person that approached me today asks me several questions about the glamorous and extravagant life that is Orange County theater (warning: Orange County theater is neither glamorous nor extravagant). Despite my confessions about doing theater "for the fun of it" (translation: no pay), my descriptions of the theaters that I work at (usually dirty 50-seat venues that make good use of their shortcomings) and the fact that I'm working a lower-middle class job at a title company, this guy believes that I have a little black book worth millions (when in fact it would probably only get me $37.50 from an rabid Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan). He discussed last night's Oscars with me this morning, and then actually asked me if I received an invitation.

This is the best part, though. When I told him that I don't get invited to things like that, he gave a look of mild disappointment and said, "Golden Globes?" So I proceeded to explain to him that, no, any kind of televised awards ceremony is not something I'm allowed into. The closest things I get invited to are L.A.'s Ovation Awards (which I wasn't this year, because "American Way" understandably got nominated for squat) and the O.C. Weekly Theatre Awards, the only show I could get into. There's nothing to put your life in perspective better than a co-worker who's disappointed in your achievements.

Who are these people? I do not make fun of the first guy's lifestyle, nor advise the woman to avoid contact with her daughter for fear of molestation charges, nor ask the second guy - a golf enthusiast - if he's ever played with Tiger Woods. Why do these people insist on inflicting their ways upon me?

Then later today, I received a rare glimpse at the opposite end of stupid communication. I was told by a member of my staff that the way I had been doing a certain type of file wrong for the last two years (I'll avoid going into the details of title analysis, as is it both hard to understand and unbelievably boring). In disbelief, I asked my manager and found out that it was true. Why no one had ever told me this before, I will never know.

I feel like all of the work done at my job is in vain. If I can do a type of file wrong for two years, letting many different issues go right past me, and no one seems to blink an eye, then why am I even here? Why didn't they send my work to India already?

It has been over two years that I have worked at this particular department, and while I have never been told that one vital piece of information concerning my line of work, I have heard extensive histories of my co-worker's families, various bad/inappropriate jokes, and several cracks about my choice of clothes, my choice of hair, my choice of women and my choice of lifestyle.

We all talk too much. If we stuck to subjects we were passionate about, this would not be a problem. The trouble is that most of what we all say doesn't make any fucking difference. There are several people at this office whom I have never heard say, "I really like to do...", "My plan for tonight is...", "The way I feel about it is...". It's all "So, Thursday, huh?" "Mmm, coffee." "How about that rain?" Idle chatter is the death of us. It accomplishes nothing and only confirms that we are spineless, unintelligent creatures. And I am included in this category. My parents came to visit my sister and I this past weekend. During a silence, I asked my dad, "How was your drive?" and I hated myself for it.

I'm going to try to stay away from mindless chatter from now on. If someone asks how I'm doing, I'm going to tell them honestly. I'll bring up issues, ask about hobbies, try to get people to wake up and stop getting the automated robotic responses that we've been taught to give. ("Fine, and you?...Yes, it IS Friday...Ha ha ha, see ya."). From now on, people should talk for a reason, and if there's no reason, then they should just shut up and enjoy the silence.

Comments:
Okay ... this reminds me of the time, back in NY, when I went from hair so long I had to move it to sit down, to hair in a short, peter-pan do. I came into work the next day and someone actually said to me ... "Did you cut your hair???"

I wanted to reach up, feel it, then shout in a panic ... "No ... why? Wait ... WHAT?!?! What the hell happened to it!?!? Oh my GOD!!! NO!!! NOOOOO!!!"
 
The reason the majority of people don't talk about what they are Passionate about, is because they have nothing to be passionate about.
In my office, people are fascinated that I do theater, because, past work and taking care of their kids, they DON'T DO ANYTHING. These people really don't have anything to talk about. They can talk about their kids (which the majority of people realize is only interesting to themselves) or who's fucking who on Desperate Housewives.
It's not their fault Jeremy. They have empty little lives. Modern Corporate Life is a soul crushing thing.
Othello closed 3 weeks ago and I'm bouncing off the walls. Thank God for Role-Playing Games! I will fill my life with Something!
And they want you to fill their lives with something...
Give them hope, Jeremy. Lie.
"Yes. I went to the Oscars. And let me tell you this, Salma Hayek sucks a mean dick."
You'll light up their day...

Joe Smash!
 
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