Thursday, September 27, 2012

Conversing with trolls

It happens sometimes – against our better judgment, we find ourselves sucked into endless, circular conversations with people who have the logic and reasoning skills of Amy Winehouse on crack and think Fox News is a legitimate source of information. Then their friends get involved, and it’s like watching Multiplicity in person, where each subsequent addition is dumber than the last. And considerably less attractive than a young Michael Keaton.

In any good argument, you have to have a starting point. You both agree that there is a conflict between Israel and the rest of the Middle East, and then you begin to debate how to fix it. You both agree that you are not, in fact, his mother, and then you begin to discuss how he should clean up after himself in light of that fact. The problem with arguing with people like the one we’ll call Clone of Ineptitude, or Cloney for short, is that there is no valid point from which to start.

It’s like getting into a heated argument over what color to paint the wall, only to discover that the other person doesn’t believe the wall exists.

The vast majority of dogmatic Republicans* refuse to accept or acknowledge actual facts, because that would mean they’d then have to use real logic and engage in an actual conversation, rather than just screaming about freedom and wee bitty babies and death panels.

*I don’t hate all Republicans, I promise I don’t. I just hate the Republicans who blindly salivate after whatever candidate the party throws in front of them, regardless of how intrinsically evil that person is, without ever trying to understand what a presidency under that person would really look like. I just hope the good Republicans can step up and wrest back control of their party from the evangelical right before shit gets too real.

They still cling desperately to their obsolete birther theories, because it’s easier than having to address why you were so willing to buy into that nonsense in the first place. They scream “Kenyan-born Muslim!” even when confronted with a Hawaiian birth certificate and the fact that the dominant religion in Kenya is Christianity, followed distantly by Baha’i, because recognizing and admitting your ignorance requires often-painful self-awareness.  

So I had a bad feeling about Cloney from the start, when he seemed incapable of grasping the fact that being Jewish in the United States makes you a minority. I’ll pause – you can go bang your head against a nearby wall if needed. Just don’t bang too hard – it gets worse. Ok, back?

Then he decided that since I’m claiming to be a minority, I must be an illegal immigrant. Because obviously one plus orange equals cat.

Then there was some token screeching about how allowing pharmacists to discriminate against, slut-shame and injure women is proof of “religious freedom” because everyone’s personal religious beliefs should trump the legal rights of everyone else, obvs. Oddly, when you turn that on its head and ask if a Muslim-American’s right to murder infidels because their religion says so trumps your right to live, they get awful quiet. Weird, huh?

Next came the “quit whining and do it yourself” mantra. Which I happily responded to with “Masters degree and Director of Communications, suck on THAT, bitch” (well, more or less). Which led to the legitimate question “and you could do that in what other country????” Canada, France, Italy, Switzerland, Norway, China, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, England, Germany… oh, you actually think we’re the only developed country in the world? Ok, got it.

I pointed out non-controversial actual-facts, like the fact that women make $0.77 on the dollar to men with equal qualifications and experience, that the Republican House refused to renew the Violence Against Women Act and cut off millions of dollars that are desperately needed to protect women, and that when I was personally sexually harassed while living in Austin, the police refused to help, because we live in a culture that blames women for being the victims of sexual violence.

Of course, to Cloney, that all means that I have “equal opportunity.” I have about a 1 in 3 chance of being a victim of rape or physical violence in my lifetime, so yeah, I guess I’m equal with every other woman in the world on that respect.

I tried explaining the concept of white male privilege, but that’s like asking a rock to recognize that it’s hard.

Then lol, omg the pre-tween txt tlk came out and Cloney decided that facts are no longer facts if you just forget about them.

Grandpa Grammarless was all: “lol, next time you want to know what is wrong with our country,,, look in the mirror... stop being jealous of other peoples hard work and successes and earn it like I did.” Yeah, which part of I’m considerably more successful at 28 than you’ll ever be did you not get? If only Facebook had an imoticon for the diva finger snap. OHNOYOUDI’INT.

When he again reiterated that systematic pay inequality, pervasive cultural double-standards against women, and over 1700 bills introduced so far in 2012 that in some way seek to limit the rights of women were all just ‘me putting limits on myself’ I finally gave up.

And then he suggested I run for Congress. I might just do it, motherfucker, just so I could find a way to get you excommunicated. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Inappropriate confessions

I’ve pondered the age-old question before of why I always get hit on by creepy old dudes. I apparently haven’t found the answer yet, though, because it’s happening again.

There’s a parking attendant in the garage at work where I lock up my bike. He’s probably in his late 40s, and it started off innocuously enough with him waving to me or saying hi in the mornings when I’d ride in. Then sometimes he’d walk up the ramp with me, making small talk about the weather or weekend plans. I tried to be polite because he keeps an eye on my bike whenever I’m an idiot and forget to bring my bike lock, but I’d mention Charming every 3 seconds or so to maintain some distance.

He generally comes off as a very nice person. He talks to lots of other employees, occasionally buys people breakfast at the little café upstairs and wishes everyone a safe ride/drive and a good weekend.

Then about a week ago he started calling me “pretty.” As in, “Hi, Pretty, how you doin’ today?”

Ugh. First off? The underlying and condescending woman-as-frilly-object-suitable-only-for-looking-at patriarchal bullshit? Go get fucked, please. Second? No wait, still on the first. “Pretty” generally has youthful connotations to it – as in ‘pretty pretty princess’ or ‘pretty little girl.’ I probably have more education, talent and ambition in my little finger than you do in your whole body, and I’ve worked incredibly hard to get where I am in life, so don’t talk down to me like I’m some brainless bimbo-child.  

Ok, now second. You know my damned name, and it’s not “Pretty” because last I checked, I’m not some white trash trailer park beauty pageant contestant.

But being the non-confrontational, mild-mannered (shut up, Charming) professional that I am, I pulled some serious bitchface and ignored it.

Then yesterday I had to drive the squeaky truck to work so I could make it to a dentist appointment on my lunch break. While he was processing my parking stub, he leaned in closer to my half-open car window and said “You know I’m in love with you, right?”

Back. The fuck. Up.

Not appropriate. Not even close. Bitchface times a thousand.

But the gate was up and I needed to get to my appointment, so I drove off.

Despite lovely weather today, I decided to take the bus so I wouldn’t have to face him. Fortunately for me, he was waiting at the entrance to the garage to scream my name as I tried to sneak into the building. I haven’t had to deal with that sinking feeling in my stomach and the overwhelming urge to dive behind the nearest concrete pillar in a long time. So I glowered at him, gave him a curt “I’m late for work” and walked away, to the sounds of him calling after me “I’ll catch you next time you come down!” It wasn’t in that tone of voice, but it sure sounded like a threat to me. Not a physical threat, but a make-me-uncomfortable threat.

I don’t understand why some men think they have this proprietary right to develop “feelings” for me, or an obsession with me, just because I’m not outright hateful toward them. My gut reaction about this whole situation was to examine my own behavior – to question myself – was I too nice? Did I wear something that made him think I was dressing up for him? Did I accidentally flirt somehow in between constantly mentioning that I’m ENGAGED TO BE MARRIED?

But fuck that. I have a right to be a tolerably-nice human being without every male in a 30-mile vicinity assuming I want to sleep with him. You don’t get to make me uncomfortable because you think you have some claim by virtue of being born with a penis to view me as a sexual object. I am not. At least not for you. I am smart, I am hard-working, I am educated, and I am fed up.

But now I don’t know what to do. How do I tell him to stop and leave me alone? Do I report this to HR and hope they can do something about it? Do I get his email address and passive-aggressively forward this post to him? Seriously though dude, fuck you for putting me in this position. Ugh. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Worst crossing guard ever

I bike to work most mornings through the mean streets of northwest Washington, DC. It’s only about a 2 mile ride from my perpetually-damp basement to my office near Union Station, but I’m invariably left feeling like I’ve just barely escaped with my life every time I turn into the garage at my building.

From construction zones to well-aimed rocks to sneak-attack car doors to pedestrians in ipod-music-bubbles, my commute is an urban dash through a deadly Hidden Temple, minus the cool Blue Barracudas t-shirt. Admittedly, I’m still not very good at riding my bike – I’ve never mastered the step-down-off-the-seat-when-stopping thing, and my not-even-fast-enough-to-be-called-a-hybrid “comfort” bike doesn’t exactly make me one of the cool bicyclist kids – but I do have a vague understanding of how traffic laws work.

Which is why I get so angry every morning at the idiot crossing guard the city has installed at the intersection of 1st and New York. I was so thrilled to see this guy when he showed up at the beginning of the school year. I thought, at least now, drivers won’t be able to aim for the small children trying to get to school, and maybe it’ll be easier for me to cross the street. Oh how wrong I was.

First of all, this guy has the mental acuity of Jessica Simpson confronted with a can of tuna fish. He is entirely incapable of glancing over at the crosswalk sign and determining that, if there are 5 seconds left to cross, and traffic is already backed up into the intersection, he should probably NOT wait until all of the killer chimpanzees have escaped before shutting the cage door.

It’s like electing a Tea Partier and letting him vote in Congress, and then wondering why everything is all screwed up. Stop him BEFORE he crosses the damned line.

Then, once the guard does awaken from his 100-year slumber and attempt to stop traffic, he blows his state-issued whistle and waves his plastic stop sign out in front of him like Sarah Palin trying to touch Russia from her house. This morning I watched a car maneuver around the crossing guard like Paul Ryan dodging policy questions and nearly take out the bicyclist in front of me. Then the driver kept coming through the red light directly for me.

“You need to stop, asshole!” I screamed from my cozy seat atop my slow-and-steady powder-blue accessory-bedecked bike. The bicyclist behind me chuckled and yelled “yeah!” before passing me like I was standing still. The crossing guard never even looked over. He was too busy standing safely on his street corner, his plastic stop sign planted firmly in front of him like a proud extension of his miniscule man-parts, to worry about something silly like doing his job.

Thank god the Ravens won last night, or else I might have been in a testy mood this morning… 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The big news!

Charming was rather displeased with me for neglecting to mention in yesterday’s post that our stupid basement apartment flooded again. For the third time.

But I was SO excited that honestly, the fact that our $30 Bed, Bath & Beyond carpet now smells like moldy gym shoes didn’t bother me too much.

And I can finally tell you why.

After 2+ years with my company, working as a temp with no benefits, no paid time off, no paid holidays, and being subjected to the taunts of real employees who get to take advantage of the onsite masseuse, I’ve finally been hired full time.

And not only that. It was a HUGE promotion. I am now the Director of Communications for the advocacy branch of one of the largest member organizations in the country. And? I get a window office. How’s that federal government cubicle working out for you again, Charming? :D

I get health insurance and access to two gyms and weekly pilates and yoga classes and seated upper body massages, and I’ll get to go to Hawaii next year for our annual Convention. Assuming I take advantage of the onsite workout opportunities and lose a little weight so I can comfortably go near a beach, of course.  

This couldn’t have come at a better time (well, yes it could – it could have happened 2 years ago, but you understand) – we just submitted the final addendum clause thing post-inspection on the house, and hopefully we’ll be real, live grown-up homeowners in about 5-6 weeks. With a puppy (or 3) of course.

Who wants to come celebrate by helping me rip out ugly Berber carpet?? 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

More good things - are you sick of these posts yet?

That exciting thing I was talking about a couple days ago? It happened! I'm shaking and sweating profusely and completely unable to focus on anything and ... more details later, but holy cow this is amazing! SO excited! 

Also, we had our home inspection on the new house today, and it was so much better than the last one. For its age, it’s settling really well, and the only thing that needs to be done is that atrocious kitchen.

It turns out the cabinets aren’t in quite as good a shape as I thought they were originally (formica facings over plain wood boxes), so I think we’re just going to wait until we get our tax return and do the whole kitchen all at once. I now have a whole new pinterest board dedicated entirely to my dream kitchen.

If you happen to catch me wandering around knocking on random pieces of wood, I haven’t gone off the deep end completely (at least not yet), I’m just trying to make sure this fantastic run of good luck holds out.