Category Archives: Communications

Work It Real Good

So much of my work is editing other people’s work that I often find it fascinating to know where their work (and mine), begins and ends. The burden of the work is clear: it is theirs, but also, here and there, and after a fashion, mine. But not really. But also more than maybe so.

I suppose this is what you call the collaborative process. It’s certainly an interesting way to live, and not at all a bad way to mention earn a living.

It’s fascinating what people come up with as they work through things – to follow their ideas as they emerge, take shape, grow (and at times falter, at times slip and derail). It’s fascinating what can be done to help them; what they need, what they want. They only have to ask, or let me ask on their behalf.

There’s a lot of trust that goes around, only to come back again. Mistakes, too, happen, not all of them regrettable. Some of them very.

The work varies, from not-so-great to good to great. But maybe it can be a little better. Not everywhere, not always, but there will be room enough, here and there, to re-work things. Why not?

It’s up to you, and then it’s mine until it’s yours again. Between us, we’ll work it good.

Work real it good.

 

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Filed under Communications, Employment, Language, People, Relationships, Words

Coffee Time (and again)

1. Wave of the Future

Shared coffee pots are oppressive! We are an interesting and imaginative group of people who deserve to have our many facets represented in our tastes. The office has therefore eliminated the old, antiquated and, frankly, oppressive coffee pot in the upstairs kitchenette, and has replaced it with a brand new, state-of-the-art single-serve KERUG KOFFEE MAKER.

You are. Most welcome.

2. BYOKK

As a part of our “coffee initiative” (as our beloved Doris has colourfully named it) please do note that employees are now free to supply and store their own koffee kups for use while at work. The sky’s the limit, though we do ask everyone to be mindful of nut allergies.

3. Tamp It Down

The environment as we know it is in peril! Thusly, we have decided to do away with the waste and excess of the single use – non-recyclable – koffee kups and have instead supplied the office with reusable, single-load receptacles for all your coffee needs. Gently pack desired grounds into the receptacle with a small spoon or forefinger and insert into the KERUG KOFFEE MAKER machine. It could not be simpler. Wash your hands before and after use.

4. Grounds for Dismissal

Coffee grounds everywhere! Littering the counter, clogging up the kitchenette sink, crushed into the carpet into ugly, suggestive stains. A most sad and lamentable state of affairs. The single-load receptacles have therefore been removed until further notice. For the time being, please purchase your coffee and related beverages before work or during break.

5. New is Old Again

Employees take note! Some of your coffee cups are non-recyclable. Please dispose of these in the garbage where they belong.

6. Debauch

Employees! We have noted there are a few of you are sneaking into the kitchenette at odd hours in order to make coffee though the unsanctioned use of the remaining (and offensive, and offending) koffee kups. Be advised: you are warned.

7. Bylaws

To avoid confusion, all coffee cups are to be thrown into the garbage as the city has twice now refused to collect our improperly-sorted recyclables. Extra bins have been provided in the downstairs kitchenette, next to the photocopier.

8. Purge: Anarchy

As forewarned, a purge of all remaining koffee kups has been carried out by Doris.

9. BE MINDFUL

A gentle reminder to all in our employ that while your coffee habits and choices are your own, we are reaching capacity in terms of weekly garbage disposal. Bins are filling up faster than usual. Consider, therefore, finishing your coffee before or after work or during breaks and disposing the cups in outside bins (i.e. the public trash bins located down the block or across the street at the nearby primary school).

10. Don’t Ask

Stop asking Doris. She doesn’t know.

10.5. Further Notice

The KERUG KOFFEE MAKER has been removed from the office until further notice.

Thank you.

 

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Filed under Communications, Food, Health, Work

Stranger Readings

When and wherever I see a stranger reading (the subway, the park, the doctor’s office), I always try to figure out what is it they’re reading. What, then why.

How being obvious.

(Or is it? There are times the pages are obscured, and I just have to imagine they’re there and also being read. Also, there are so many assumptions in “How,” isn’t there?)

So, why? Why that book? Is it the content? The author? Is this a project, or a pastime (or both)?

Is this good?

More: good in all sense or semblance of that word, “good.”

Tell me stranger: Do you know something I don’t know? Maybe you know something I do.

Also: Maybe I could tell you a thing or two. I have books too.

Then: “Books are dead.” Did you know that?

Finally: Yes, dead. Read for work. Reading is work. Work to get paid, or don’t work at all. Getting paid is everything, or it is nothing. Anyway, no one likes their job, which is the same as work. Don’t be a sucker! A show-off! A conceit!

Never concede.

Books are dead.

***

Now, of course, I wouldn’t take things so far down that particular logic hole; the rabbits there are deranged.

This is nothing that should be done. Stranger readings ought to stay that way.

This is just an exercise.

The premise being ridiculous.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Books, Communications, Death, Interruptions, Language, People, Routines, Words

Grave Game, Round 2

(a.k.a. “Epitaphs,” but it’s hard to resist alliteration and impossible to deny it, once indulged).

Round 2:

GIRL!

– Took It, Left It.

– Now For Patience.

– Paid Too Much.

– No More Bad Days.

– I Fail To See The Point.

NETWORK ERROR.

– Remains Open To Interpretation.

– Buyer’s Remorse.

– Overrated & Undercooked.

– Worms, Guys, Worms.

– Your Face.

I WISH YOU WOULD.

– Uh-Oh.

– I Left My Head And My Heart On The Dance Floor.

– Trust.

My, My, My.

– Fancy That.

– Did I Leave The Stove On?

BOTTOM’S UP!

– Your Shoes Are Ugly.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Ceremony, Communications, Death, Downtime, Games, People

Grave Game, Round 1

Did you know?

My friend, Ria, plays a mighty fine Grave Game: think up the best epitaph you can, for posterity’s sake. It certainly helps to pass the inevitable time.

(I guess the game should be called “Epitaphs,” but sometimes the names pick themselves.)

Nobody will ever read your yearbook, but someone’s bound to walk pass your grave.

 

Round 1:

– I Never Read The Book.

– Must Be Nice.

– Bitch, Please.

– Meh.

– Omar Coming.

BEHIND YOU.

– Fine Enough.

– Here Lies Lisa Simpson.

– My Other Grave Is A Camaro.

– Kind Of Hard Not To Take This Personally.

– Weasel Popped.

– I Doughnut Care.

– Shredded Hearts Or Cheese, Makes No Difference.

– I Voted.

– What? These Old Bones?

– Lousy.

– “The Thing in Quotes That Defines Me.”

– Am The Dust Collecting Now.

– No More Fart Jokes.

– I Tried, I Tired.

– Don’t Blink.

– Have A Nice Summer!

– The Whole Thing Was Pretty Distracting.

– Imagine Now How I’d Look In Real Life.

– People. Do. It. Every. Day.

– Finally Got It.

– Better You Than Me.

– I Used To Be A Lot Better Than This.

– Now Comes The Hard Part.

– Yoga? Dead Anyway.

– The Movie Was Better.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Celebrity, Communications, Death, Downtime, Friends, Games

Eponymous

Let’s skip the definition here and witness the word in action, so rarely do we get to do that with such perspicacity:

Our manager, Bristol,* ever-loving Bristol, easy-going Bristol (or so she would have you believe and, really, do I have any proof to say otherwise?), Bristol wanted to shake things up, play a little music as we worked.

Music of our choosing.

“What shall we play?” she asked cheerfully after her playlist had exhausted itself.

“Beyoncé,” answered Simone.

“O-K. Beyonce! What songs? Which album?”

Beyoncé.”

“I heard, Beyonce.”

“Beyoncé.”

“I need you to give me an album, at least to start.”

Beyoncé.”

“STOP SAYING BEYONCE!”

It took several long moments, in which nothing was said, in which nothing, (Beyoncé or otherwise) played, before Bristol, finally, blessedly caught up, got with it & realized.

“Oh. You mean – “

“Beyoncé: Beyoncé,” answered Simone.

As the music played and we four women (Bristol included) worked steadily away to Drunk in Love (feat. Jay Z), Tim, a report writer, stuck his head through the door and into our workspace.

“Wow. It’s like a sorority in here,” he said.

(Tim’s head: did I mention it was undersized?)

But Tim is another story:

Tim’s an asshole, the very definition.

 

 

 

________________________________________________

* Not real names. No real names, not here, not today.

 

 

 

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Filed under Communications, Jobs, Music, Names, People, Words

Bong Go

There is one morning in recent memory where I caught my teenage neighbour out on his stoop with a giant, truly impressive bong (not unlike a really large test tube, or small palm tree).

He choked on it when I said “Hi” and I looked away so he could shove it behind him and pretend he didn’t have it. And so I could pretend I never saw it. So we could both pretend that it wasn’t, in actuality, right there, jammed between his body and the front door, jabbing him uncomfortably in the back like it was indignant.

(Wouldn’t you be?)

Then he smiled and said “Hi” back.

Then we talked about the weather for longer than seemed necessary, or possible. He shifted, fumbled, and the bong fell unceremoniously to its side. The noise it made as it did so was one of pure resignation.

Then he really smiled and I really smiled and we forgot about the weather and wished each other a nice day.

Because it’s not always about how the day starts, is it?

And the morning had really only just begun, hadn’t it?

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Communications, Friends, Interruptions, Mind and Body, People, Routines

What Canadians Mean When We Say…

… Sorry*

 

  • Excuse my behaviour and/or poor judgment.
  • Say that again, please. I require clarification.
  • I didn’t hear you. Please repeat.
  • I do not mean to offend.
  • My fault!
  • Please like me.
  • I want to made amends.
  • I’m reluctant.
  • I disagree.
  • You are out of line.
  • What is happening?
  • I don’t like this.
  • No.
  • Let me mull this over a while.
  • Are we still friends?
  • I’m leaving.
  • Over here!
  • I hate myself.YOU
  • Respectfully, no.
  • Seriously, make me.
  • Bored now.
  • Hello.
  • I should, but I won’t.
  • No fair!
  • I am out of line.
  • Whatever! Maybe.
  • I’m exhausted.
  • Mic check, mic check.
  • Welcome!
  • I’m uncomfortable.
  • Motherfucker.
  • I do mean to offend.
  • You caught me.
  • This is happening??
  • Goodbye.
  • I don’t know.
  • That’s perverse.
  • Please stop.
  • End. Of. Discussion.
  • Oh, hell no!
  • I want to, but I can’t.
  • Shit.
  • OK. But what now?
  • There was a pause in the conversation.
  • I do not need this in my life right now.
  • You are behaving suspiciously.
  • Exclude me from your plans.
  • Acknowledge me.
  • I want something from you.
  • YOUR FACE.
  • I am interrupting and I apologize, but I’d like to interject.
  • Do shut up.
  • I am in the right.
  • Ain’t nobody got time for that!
  • This is pointless, but go on.
  • I did hear you, but I do not understand.
  • You should know!
  • I am not listening.
  • This is your fault.
  • I will now invalidate your existence.
  • Yo.
  • I got too excited.
  • You are in the way.
  • Am I in the way?
  • Which way is it?
  • Get out of the way.
  • We’re closing soon.
  • You have a point, but I don’t care.
  • How disappointing.
  • Word.
  • I love you.
  • You lost me.
  • That’s a lie.
  • I just don’t care.
  • I am not sorry.

Mayor Not Sorry 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
*My friend, Anna, once talked about the “niceness” of Canadians and how, in her experience, this being nice – describing other people, places, and situations as nice, nice nice (i.e. “He seems nice”, “the Prime Minister is doing a nice job”, “What a nice office”, “It was nice”) and saying sorry, sorry, sorry all the time – is just a highly-toned yet mostly unconscious form of passive aggression.

Anna, I’m sorry.
 
 
 

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Filed under Communications, People, Places, Politics, Relationships

Cellulite

I lost my cell phone last month and in that space between figuratively and literally, I also lost my shit over it.  I checked EVERYWHERE and when that initial effort failed to solve my problem, I did what anyone would do: I went to social media and complained about it.

 

December 30th, 2011 

What’s on your mind?

Dear Cell Phone. Please come back. We can work things out. You bastard.

 
My relationship with my cell phone is certainly an “it’s complicated”.  The truth is, I actually hate being on the phone.  Never really got the hang of it.  I’d rather talk to people when they are being people in person or yell to them from Very Great Distances.

There’s also the imposition.

I don’t like the convenience that other people have to contact me whenever they want wherever I am, even if that’s nowhere in particular and I am doing NOTHING there.  Whether I’m single-handedly perfecting cold fusion in a bunker somewhere in the mojave desert or sittin’ around in dirty sweatpants at my mom’s marathoning Buffy and no matter what time it is, I just don’t want to be bothered simply because I can be bothered.

There must have been a procedure in place to call on someone when you needed to call them in the Before Time before cell phones but no one, it seems, can remember exactly what that was.

I think it involved pigeons.

Some sub-speicies of dove maybe?

But having a cell phone is pretty much an obligation now, and I’m just not bigger than that.  So, yes, I have one.

My Methuselah is also my Lazarus (plus three days).

Seven days off the grid and it's back to status quo. Again.

I say “cell phone”.  I don’t have a smart phone and in point of fact this is exactly where I will draw the line until they move it again.

There are good reasons why I refuse to get a smart phone.

Is it fear of the new?  Some kind of existential distrust of what we might call “progress”?

Yeah, probably.

What’s that Thing Kurt Vonnegut says?  “We are here on Earth to fart around” (1997: 219) and, see, I can’t really do that if you’re going to talk past me through your smart phone or – worst of the worse – if you’re going to fact check the Things I say offhand,  just because you can now.

That whole “Welp! Let’s just look it up, shall we?” that kind of started as a lighthearted game amongst friends is, I think, being played with too much predatory zeal to be any fun anymore.

It’s a trial now.  It’s an interrogation of small talk.

These are exactly the Things I’m trying to avoid, as futile as that is, for as long as I possibly can.  After all, just because the Romans are at the gate doesn’t mean you have to let them in.

With a cell phone, especially a crappy one, especially my crappy one (it’s over 3 years old, the camera is 2 pixels and is broken, and sometimes and especially during peak hours it sounds like I’m talking to you through a wet pillow), the excuses for non-engagement are of the best kind: trite and endless.

The battery ran out; I turned off the sound and the vibrate is broken; I dropped the call; there were no towers nearby; I was slightly underground; there was so much mist out there; SOLAR FLARES.

It all adds up to a marvellous buffer zone – a kind of heaven, really – where I can just fart around unless and until truly needed.

So, yes.  I kind of hate having my phone but I hate not having my phone because I’m expected to have it.

Such a modern romance.

As it turns out, I had dropped my cell phone in the garden. It spent a full seven days under dirt, then snow, then dirt and snow, then, like, ice for a while, then melt runoff and, eventually, my own sad realization at what had happened.



January 7th, 2012

What’s on your mind?

Cell phone!  You are back!!! But you smell like cigarettes and whores and are as dirty as rotten hell. There is water where there should not be and a “gritty” I have never before experienced against my fingertips. I am impressed and horrified. Or, as the Chinese say, imhorripressifed!

 
It took over two days before my cell phone was fully charged again and there are still tiny beads of condensation on the screen, here and there.  If left unplugged, I can now only have a 15-minute conversation on my cell phone before it shuts down completely.  If no one calls me, it stays on all the livelong day, cheerfully letting me know the time any time I want.

Forget heaven.

PARADISE.

 

References

Vonnegut, Kurt. (1997).  Timequake. Putnam Publishing Group: New York.

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Filed under Communications