Bad day

Posted in: Real life, Work stories

After all this time, I still don't really know what it is that makes me decide to blog about something. It's been a month since the last post and in that time I just started thinking that I was too busy to write here. While others I know are doing the whole 30 Days of Me thing (for which they have my sympathy and understanding if it becomes difficult because, as I learned with Blog Every Day April last year, blogging every day for 30 days is hard), I've been sitting back and lapping-up the content that they and the rest of the internet has been putting up there.

Today however, I was hit with a few 'I should write about this' feelings, the kind that makes me want to find the nearest computer, hit-up my site, and start throwing my thoughts into the electronic ether (now going by the buzzword, 'the cloud'. Did you imagine someone doing air quotes just then? Yeah, same here). At that moment, the nearest computer was in my hands (carrying work laptop to work), so I quickly finished the rest of my morning walk to work, plugged the thing in, waited the obligatory long-enough-to-make-a-cup-of-tea start-up time, and before I could start up my browser somebody came up to me and asked me a work question - the first of many which made me soon forget about blogging entirely.

During my lunch break, I was once again hit with that blogging feeling, and remembered what it was in the morning I was wanting to write about. Sentences started forming in my mind and I was editing drafts in my thoughts as I made my way back to work at the end of my lunch break to sit down at my desk and not blog some more.

Blogging

So what happened that first time that made me want to punch some keys for God's sake? Well, I pretty much admitted that I am a big fat pushover.

I ran into a friend (read: walked passed and didn't realize it was someone I knew until I was 2 metres away, at which point I turned around and back-tracked) on my way to work this morning with my heavy work laptop in it's bag in one hand and a 30 Seconds To Mars track playing in my ears. She was standing with workmates and a bunch of equipment, all of them waiting for a taxi that may or may not have forgotten about them so they can carry all this stuff to where it needs to be through the schizophrenic Wellington weather. When I stopped to talk with her the usual conversation ensued (How are you? Haven't seen you in ages! Why are you standing out here with a box full of LCD screens?) and somehow got to me telling her that I'm sort of dreading going to work today. The reason: the almost-daily project meeting that involves our testing crew.

Now it's not really the testers I'm afraid of - they're a great bunch and do a much needed job that adds tremendous value to the project - but when they're in the meeting, all the current problems with the system we're working on get highlighted and when it comes to letting everyone know about the issues in the area I'm working on, my overriding conscience starts to kick in and suddenly I feel like I'm not doing a good enough job. It doesn't help either when sometimes I'm involved in e-mail exchanges about problems with the system that are directed at me while CC'ing all the other testers and none of the other developers which then makes me feel like I have to defend myself against a 21st century electronic workspace flogging.

I summarised the above for my friend, and her response was pretty much to send some angry e-mails straight back.

I thought about it some, and quickly realized that telling people who annoy me to go suck donkey dick wasn't really in my repertoire. I mean, it would be funny if it happened, but it would only happen in my head, whereas in real-life I'd metaphorically turn to some strange angle and hope that whatever projectile was aimed at bruising my ego would glance off my titanium skull or just miss because I presented a smaller target. And so after making a lot of doubtful thinking noises, I admitted to my friend, "Hmm, that's not really me; I'm a bit of a pushover actually."

A bit? Well, yes, for very large values of the word 'bit'.

Why my brain told me to go blog about that, I have no idea why.

Dominoes
Guess which one I am in that picture. If you answered 'all of the above' you win a prize

The next incident at lunch time was when I was finishing-up my shopping to take advantage of a one-day store sale. The sales guy just ran my card so I could pay for my purchase, and as the Eftpos system was connecting to my bank account to rob me of my money, to kill some of the silence he asked me "Had a good day so far?"

I thought about it, and thought about it some more. I thought I was taking a very long time to think but obviously I wasn't because I managed to give him my answer before the Eftpos machine could confirm my payment. "Actually, no" I told him, "I've been having a pretty crappy day."

I don't know whether it was the honesty or because I didn't just say "good", but he was obviously taken aback by my reply. This isn't the first time I've been asked that sort of question, gave that sort of answer, and saw that sort of reaction. The last person was my neighbour (is that the right word to use when technically they live 4 floors above you?) and, I dunno, it made that conversation - and even the very short one with the sales guy - just that much more engaging.

I mean, when you have those 'How was your day? / Good.' exchanges, you can really tell that the other party isn't dedicating much of their brain to the conversation: their eyes are staring at some point in the distance instead of you, their body is still facing in the direction that they really want to go before they ran into you, and you can see them thinking about other things like what to eat once they get home instead wondering about how to reply to you. But when you mess-up the norm, then you've got their attention: they have to actually think of responses, and now they've got you on their mind instead of what it is they're going to make for dinner.

Once the Eftpos machine finally confirmed that it had left my bank account a little worse for wear, the sales guy wished me a really good rest-of-the-day and, you know what, it felt like he meant it.

Why my brain told me to go blog about that, I have no idea why.