Monday, September 27, 2010

Friendship Struggle

Three weeks ago, a sweet couple I met had me over to their apartment for dinner. I had a great time, and made tentative plans with them to come over to my apartment for dinner the following week. Seeing as I’m a space cadet, I have yet to follow up on the invitation and actually have them over. Or even hang out with either of them since then. Or even speak one word to them since then. Whoops.

I am awful at maintaining friendships, if you couldn’t tell. It seems I either try to hang out with people so much that I smother them, or I make them feel like I never want to see their ugly mugs ever again. I feel that I have the best intentions when it comes to keeping up with friends, but when it comes to making an effort to spend time with them, I am unable to keep myself from cranking the volume knob to either a shade above mute or a tremor-inducing, deafening roar. Why is it so hard to remain on an even keel with people? How can anyone be expected to consistently maintain a balance between when you want to see them and when they want to see you?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday Mediocrity

It’s Monday. No one likes Mondays. Even as a person who has Thursdays and Fridays off from work, I can feel the weight of a Monday with the same acuteness as someone who is lucky enough to have weekends off. There’s a certain gloom and gravity that seems to weigh down the day, and just about everyone feels it. Garfield has even dedicated his life to avoidance of this day of the week. But what is it about Mondays that gets people? If you work or go to school Monday through Friday, you have an obvious reason to be bummed, as an entire week of work is lies ahead of you, but what about the rest of us? Does it stem from the years of a Monday through Friday schedule to which we became accustomed in school? Since most people don’t work weekends, does their depression about the start of the work week rub off on everyone else? What do you think?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Customer Service Chronicles: Body Odor

Yes, it’s that time again. It’s time to continue our discussion about how customers stink. I know right now you might be thinking that I covered the spectrum of stench in my July post about this same topic, and I couldn’t possibly have more to say, but I only scratched the surface then. I also know that you’re worried that I might be taking on too much at one time in trying to delve deeper into the world of retail stank, but I can reassure you that I know what I’m doing, and that I’ll be biting off a chunk of the topic no bigger than either you or I can handle.

Today, we will be focusing on body odor, or BO. BO is the most pervasive and enduring of customer smells. It can pack a wallop and even give you pause, but regardless of its intensity or effect, it is unmistakable and easy to distinguish from other lingering smells. Summer is the prime season for BO, as several days’ worth of sweat and dirt accumulate on unwashed customer bodies coalesce to create a pungent aroma that travels long distances in the hot, low-density air. One customer in particular, a regular at the store where I work (joy), and a notorious non-bather, could be smelled approximately 20 feet away in the heat of August.

We all know what BO smells like, but most of us are fortunate enough to be able to escape it, either by walking away from the source and/or locating the nearest fire truck to request a good hose-down of the source. If your job is to work face-to-face with people reeking of BO, however, you are not so lucky. Continued exposure can have some unusual effects, such as leading you to characterize and distinguish between individual people’s BO. One recurrent customer (who is a gigantic pain in the ass) has the typical BO base with notes of corn bread, while a few others I’ve encountered recently smell as if their BO were spiced with Top Ramen flavor packets.

Join me next time as we continue our journey experiencing the spice of customer service life that is stench.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Motivation Contemplation

Every night around 11 o’clock, I’m hit with a nice glob of anxiety, and it’s all your fault. Yes, you. Don’t look around like I’m talking to someone near you—I’m talking to you. You come around here every day or two looking for a new nugget of joy that you hope I’ve deposited for you here on my blog, and you’re used to leaving unsatisfied every once in a while, but I haven’t posted anything here for over a week. Now you’re resentful. You sit by the computer and wonder why I haven’t posted even a tiny morsel for your hungry brain for several days. Was it something you said? Was it because you didn’t have dinner ready on time last Tuesday? Was it because you applied mustard to my delicious Ball Park frank (they plump when you cook ‘em, you know) when you know damned well I loathe mustard? Wait, why are you blaming yourself? It’s no one’s fault but mine. Yes, you should be making me feel guilty for abandoning you, leaving you out to dry!

And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Motivation can be hard to come by, so whenever or wherever I can get it, I’ll lap it up like a thirsty kitten. I prefer that motivation to write comes in the form of a song, or a movie, or the words of a friend, but if guilt does it, I’ll take it.

Perhaps guilt isn’t really it, though. Maybe you’re all cheering me on, and sometimes I can’t hear it for a few days, as it gets drowned out by the din of work and social commitments. Yeah, that’s more like it. You wouldn’t have come here in the first place if you weren’t at least mildly interested. That’s the kind of motivation I like to receive.