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Archive for the ‘Ponderings’ Category

RWC World Cup FinalThe title and the picture has nothing to do with the content of the post, but I just could not help myself. So there! Bite me, Kev and Mr R Rabbit!
I was notified by the IT department this morning to clean up my e-mail account as I’ve exceeded my storage limit. Gah! (Wonder if this has anything to do with my resignation?)
I had a quick look at my inbox and found that I had 283 unread messages, mostly mail-forwards and funnies sent to me by colleagues and friends. I deleted them all and freed up a whopping 18% of the space allocated to my account.
Spurred on by my moderate success, I did the same on my cell phone. I cleared my entire inbox! It is not that I don’t care to receive the coy and flirtatious sms’s people send to me. Quite the contrary. I enjoy a good laugh. I like witty, flirtatious banter. If only they did not take up so much space and time.
Moving on. Text messages and emails have become pivotal in modern flirting and communication. The attractive thing about text messaging is that they are secretive. No one knows (or so we hope) but you and the person that you are flirting with. Embarrassment in front of others is almost nil. For many people, the electronic medium has opened up a whole new world of low risk flirting. Anyone can text. Even my mother is pretty nifty with a cell phone.
In most cases the art of flirting is trial and error. There is no class or seminar that can prepare an individual for flirting. Courtship behaviour is not a subject that can be taught.
Text messaging and emails have taken flirting to another level(?). Coy verbal phrases can now be exchanged while we are at a distance. If a message goes unanswered, it is repeated or the individual will ask,” Did you get my message?”
These days, if someone I’ve met or a girl I find interesting sends me a text or email that doesn’t grab my attention, I feel pretty apathetic about them.
For example, any text that starts, “God, I’m so pissed off at the moment,” or “You would not believe what just happened,” immediately makes me think, that perhaps I should pretend I left my phone at home rather than get into this.
The one thing that vexes me is e-mail that has been sent to my work addy or text messages that contain excessive insipid digital banter – such as 😉 lol !!!!!!!!, cu l8r, etc. I don’t mind the odd lol or smiley, but when used excessively, they make me feel like I’m nursing someone, rather than communicating with them. Do I make sense to you?
The bar of digital conversation has been raised considerably over the past few years. If you don’t start trying that little bit harder, pretty soon the only thing keeping you warm at night will be a string of emoticons.

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Money treeI resigned from my job today (again… hehe). One of the companies I interviewed for a couple of weeks back came through with an offer that was too good to pass up. I start my new job on the 1st of November.
When I handed my boss my letter of resignation, he questioned my decision to leave (as he is entitled to, I suppose) and asked if I am sure that this is what I wanted to do.
When I said yes, he remarked that everyone has a price.
While I realise that more money is not the only reason why I’m leaving, I have to admit that it played a considerable role in the decision making process. There were other things such as job satisfaction, my ambition, career prospects and my sense of self-worth to consider, but I probably would not have made this decision for less money.
Everyone has a price. This kind of thinking leaves me cold and filled with dread to some degree. On the one side it says you are jaded and cynical and basically have no faith in humanity, while on the other you might argue that you are just being realistic and recognising that “the love of money”, as the saying goes, “is the root of all evil”.
Some people claim they would do anything for money. Like the movie Indecent Proposal would you sleep with someone for a million dollars? What other crazy things would you be willing to do if you were paid enough? Would you sleep with the boss for that job promotion? Would you mooch off of your rich friends. Would you evict a poor tenant who cannot pay? Pollute a community? Cheat on your taxes?
You are prolly shaking your head right now and saying, “I wouldn’t do any of these things… not for any amount of money”. But what if your circumstances were so dire and so desperate that you really can’t see a way out them? Why do people sell out on their moral beliefs? Is it because they believe that money can buy happiness, or is it more likely because people think that money can buy security? Or at least give the false impression of security.
Rarely are the circumstances as straight forward as when you ask a straight guy, “Would you French kiss another dude for a million dollars?” is it? Without hesitation 99% of the guys asked would say no. But how different is this situation really from the hot girl at the church fair who charges two quid for a kiss on the mouth? “Ahh”, you say, “but it is for a good cause. It is for charity”. But then you could also argue that you are your own charity. Or is it ok because she kisses members of the opposite sex, despite the fact that many of the men she kisses are married?
Just for the record (and please, do not over-analyse this!), show me a briefcase with a million in cash and I’ll be the “pretend fag” with the bottle of Listerine Mouthwash and a packet of Wrigley’s gum. I am confident enough in my own skin to know that one kiss does not make you a gay man. Let’s talk again when I walk away with the million, and when no one remembers what I did a month from now.
I guess the real question (imho) you need to ask yourself is whether you will be able to live with yourself (and the consequences) knowing what you had to do to earn the cash. Perhaps my view is too simplistic and I am not really thinking about this clearly and rationally.
Some things are morally inexcusable and regardless of which way you slice it, no amount of money could make what you did seem right. For other things it is truly up to the individual and what direction you moral compass points to.
Do I have a price? In as much as I would like to believe that I don’t, I guess I do. It all depends on the situation, where I draw that line in the sand and what the mental impact of my actions will have on my life and the lives of others.
Do you have a price… or don’t you?

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Independent woman?One thing that I find uncomfortable and that annoys the shit out of me is when a woman (or a man for that matter) tries so hard to prove that she is an independent woman that she forgets to relax and just be herself.
I am all for “girl power” or whatever you may want to call it, but there is a fine line between asserting yourself and basically saying that you don’t need anyone in your life to be happy.
I met with a woman today and all I had to listen to, for what amounted to a considerable amount of time, was how independent she was (financially and otherwise), how much she has achieved in her lifetime, and how she does not and will not take a backseat to anyone because of her gender. [Good on you, sister!]
All of this ambition and self-assuredness are good and well I suppose. I actually found some of the things she mentioned quite admirable and… and at the same time, quite scary.
In talking to me about her independence she actually told me how insecure she really was. Which could explain why in spite of all her accomplishments she has yet to hold down a successful relationship? Any man brave enough to get close to her, would spend half his time trying to get enough distance between them to re-grow his own testicles and to find a relationship in which he can be a man.
All the while I kept thinking to myself, “Why are you telling me this? Don’t you know that quietly asserting yourself is sometimes the best way to get a point across?”
I had visions of her being dumped a lot or being mistreated and looked down upon at some point in her life. She made me think of her as the proverbial wet blanket. She would be the first person to end or leave the party. The sad thing is that no-one would miss her. She is so obsessed with not appearing weak that is exactly how she came off as… weak.
In putting up a front and broadcasting “I am woman hear me roar” to anyone who cares to listen, she has forgotten who she really is. I saw a scared little girl who is afraid of being alone and who overcompensates for her flaws. She is probably afraid of her own successes, none of which has brought her much happiness. Whatever happened to being “inter-dependent” and combining your greatest skills with that of your partner?
I may be completely off-kilter in my assessment of her, and perhaps this is how she wants to spend the one life that was given to her.
The side effect of all of this is that she paints a very bleak picture of herself. I am not sure she knows who she really is. And when she finally does meet someone she likes, she will screw it up.
Independent women, ball busting super-bitch or just plain scared little girl? You decide.

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Retrograde

Man walking tightropeIt’s been a kak week and it feels as if I am in limbo. It is nearing the end of August and at work we are already planning ahead for 2008. And even though it is not necessarily a bad thing, it reminds me that 2007 is starting to circle the drain.
While I am happy(!!) with what I have accomplished at work, I can’t shake the feeling that I dropped the ball when it comes to my personal life and the goals I set at the beginning of this year. What the fuck happened?
I believe that every person in my life is an example of something. Sometimes good… sometimes bad. They are my beacons and serve as subtle reminders of who I want to be and who I do not want to be. I navigate my life to some degree by what I see in the people around me.
I have a good friend who is a social worker. Her job entails that she works with orphans and abused children (of which there are plenty in this fair country of ours!). Kids who come from broken homes. The ones life has kicked to the curb so many times, it is a wonder they are still alive… let alone standing.
She is probably the most devoted person I know. She spends more hours on the job than I than anyone I’ve met. She is always at the office, always doing some form of case work and always talking about how she really should be doing more. I don’t quite understand what exactly she is doing all the time, but her compassion and devotion is unending.
While I greatly admire her, she is a prime example of someone who IS her job. She is unable to talk about anything without relating it something that happened in her job. Every story she tells becomes a life lesson. A reminder of how bad things can get out there. Her friends (myself included) become her students. It’s tragic really, but also interesting to see how her whole identity is shaped by her profession and the people she comes in contact with.
I find a lot of joy in what I do for a living. What I do may not be as profound and selfless as what she does, but without my job/profession I probably would not be who I am today, let alone sustain my bad habits. Yet, I do have other interests. I have hobbies and activities I like to participate in, and I can carry full conversations that don’t involve using the buzz words that are typical of my profession. Perhaps I have learned to find my identity in other things and perhaps the way I identify myself is just as bad… but surely if your job spills over into your normal life to the point where you basically have no life at all, that has to be a bad thing?
I feel sad for this friend… sad for what she has to deal with and sad for the children she so desperately wants to help. I worry that she has no life of her own. I sometimes wonder if in dealing with the problems of others she shies away from dealing with the problems in her own life.
I am also keenly aware that she is an example of someone I hope never to become… someone whose whole identity/life is DEFINED by what they do.
Perhaps I am just selfish or perhaps I feel this way because I see myself becoming a bit of what she is for reasons that are less noble?

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Emotional infidelity

“When one is in love, one always begins by deceiving one’s self, and one always ends by deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance.” ~Oscar Wilde

[Picture this] You are sitting at home watching television one night when your cell phone beeps twice. It is a text message. You don’t recognise the telephone number, but you open the message and read it anyway.
It is a message from a girl you knew back at university. More specifically it is a message from the girl you had a crush on all those years ago, the one who would smile at you in Economics class and send your young, adolescent heart into a tailspin.
The message reads: “This is Jane. Remember me? I got your number from [insert name of mutual friend]. Just thought I’d say hello and find out how you are doing?”
Your heart beats wildly. The memories come flooding back. (don’t they always?) It’s been almost ten years since you’ve seen her and you wonder what she looks like now. Is she still the hot girl you perved over all those years ago?
You reply with a “Good to hear from you!” Of course you remember her, and pretty soon you are exchanging text and e-mails on a regular basis, only you never mention it to your partner.
It turns out Jane is unhappily married (coincidence?). At first, it is just witty digital banter about this and that, but soon you begin to commiserate about the past and share personal details of your life. The question of meeting up for drinks has been raised a few times, but has not yet materialised.
I have heard the phrase emotional infidelity thrown about recently. My first reaction when I heard the phrase was, “what a load of psycho mumbo jumbo!” Now I am not so sure.
My question is: Would you regard what I describe above as cheating?

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Thinking man[Somewhat introspective post. Normal blogging will resume on Monday]
I rarely blog about my siblings (we are 4 children). It is not that I don’t want to. My reasons are purely selfish; I don’t need the competition. This is my blog dammit!
I will however make an exception in this case as a telephone call from my sister, seeking my advice on a serious personal matter, sparked off a whole internal debate. I need to put the words down in writing in order to gain some perspective (feedback?).
Hence the post. So bear with me if you will.
My sister is two years older than I am and she is notorious for worrying about what other people think of her. She is constantly trying to work out how other people will feel about a decision she has to make rather than considering her own point of view.
Over the years she has allowed “others” to control her life and she is caught up in a never-ending cycle of looking for approval or fearing the disapproval of others.
I suppose what she struggles with is not unique to her. In each of us there is a constant battle between the desire for approval and the fear of disapproval. Our friendships, business dealings, family interactions, sports, politics; everything is, if not completely driven by this tension, at the very least heavily influenced by it.
The promise of approval and the threat of disapproval are common tools that people use to get what they want from each other. People use disapproval as a tool to either inflate their sense of self or to control others, and they may use very subtle and sneaky ways of doing it. It’s fairly obvious when someone tells you “I don’t like what you are doing,” but less so when that person takes a disapproving glance at your clothes, or makes a backhanded critical remark about something you feel passionate about. In many cases these are almost like long-term subliminal negative advertising campaigns, where someone will make repeated but barely perceptible stabs at something you like and identify with.
Of course we all need to consider other people to be decent and sensitive. But if we care too much what other people think we live our lives by our imaginations of others thoughts!
When I told her to go with her own instincts and trust herself more, she pointed out that it is ok for me to say so. People expect me to be like that. (I am still trying to figure out whether that is a compliment or an insult). I wanted to tell her to be more like me, but realised that I would be doing the very thing I was trying to get her not to do. Live HER life according to MY rules.
It is my belief that one can only be truly independent and self-confident when you start being more self-directed. When you start to care less what others think you’ll start living your life and not a distorted reflection of what someone else thinks your life should be. Public opinion is notoriously unreliable anyway.
I have tried to reason with her by telling her that the only reason why she is afraid of other people’s disapproval is that she values their approval, and when she comes to see that their approval is of no value to her whatsoever, the promise of it will not work on her anymore and thus the threat of disapproval will cease to work as well.
“Yes, but what if I get it wrong?” she says.
“That is ok”, I said. “The mistakes you make will be entirely your own, and not because you decided to follow the herd. If you do get it wrong, you can take the necessary steps to fix it and learn from it”
I don’t think I got through to her. There is too much history and too many behavioural patterns to deal with. I guess that because she never had to, she is too afraid to take on the responsibility. In the end she still insisted on me telling her what she should do.
It is sad really, because I see a bright young woman who is so caught up in her own destructive game that she has completely forgotten about herself.
In the words of Wayne Dyer, “what you think of me is none of my business.” If only I can get my sister to see that.

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man under umbrellaToday I angered my boss… or perhaps he was just being himself. I can’t decide if there is a difference.
He said I appeared sullen and lazy. I wanted to tell him that this is, in fact, exactly how I felt, but I did not want to appear that way to him. I’m not saying that it’s good to “fake it”, just that it’s probably best not to be yourself when you are around your superiors.
In fact my “sullenness” began soon after I got up this morning. I was looking at myself in the bathroom mirror when I realised that I put too much shaving cream on my face. It looked like someone had hit me with an extra creamy meringue pie. I looked around suspiciously, expecting Larry, Curly and Mo to jump out from behind the shower door.
So I decided to add a bit more and sculpted myself a modest white beard. Hah hah… I am so creative when I am half-naked! Next I lathered shaving cream in my hair and made a unicorn horn (penis?) on the top of my head. I looked like some fucked up fairytale character from Pan’s Labyrinth.
If I had my way, I would have gladly stayed there for another hour or so, but then I realised that it would be too much of an effort to come up with a “why I am late” excuse. So I got back into the shower and rinsed it all off. What I can I say? I am easily amused when I am sullen.
The working day kicked off with an 8 o’clock meeting. It was like walking “The Terraces of Purgatory” in Dante’s Divine Comedy. It drained every ounce of reserve energy I had. Not that I had much energy to begin with.
While listening to the boss going on about how we are already tracking behind our quarterly sales targets, I thought about how brilliant it would be if I could get my hands on a game show buzzer. I would call it “the meeting buzzer”. (How’s that for having non sequiter thoughts?)
I could just sit around in meetings all day and buzz in and finish people’s thoughts and sentences. So when the boss said “our main objective for the latter part this quarter is…”, I would buzz in and loudly say, in an excited voice “Ooh, I know, I know… take a dump on the chairman’s desk!”
Or when someone says “this won’t take long” you could buzz in and say “that’s what you said to your girlfriend when you had sex”. When you overhear someone talking and they make a remark like, “I was thinking…”, you could walk up and buzz in enthusiastically with “that you wish you had bigger boobs?!”.
It would be like spray-painting graffiti on the side of a church, but without the guilt.

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